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OpenEMIS: An Open-Sourced Education Management Information Systems (EMIS)

As the global community refocuses its efforts toward Education 2030, the importance of quality education is more apparent than ever.  Research clearly indicates that quality education draws learners to schools and helps keep them there. By definition, quality education is a relevant education, which means learners will be better positioned to leave schools ready to make contributions to the world around them. 

Underlying quality education is quality data, defined by its relevance, timeliness and coverage.   Quality data offers education planners the evidence needed for sound decision-making in education policy development, teacher deployment and resource allocation.  Quality data is essential in ensuring a human rights based approach to education, providing rights holders with transparency and duty bearers with accountability within the education system.

The OpenEMIS Initiative responds to this growing demand for quality data towards quality education. OpenEMIS is part of UNESCO’s response to increasing demand for support in the area of education system planning and management. It supports the building of a robust and reliable Education Management Information System (EMIS) and the strengthening of national capacities in the provision of reliable information for the planning, monitoring and evaluation of education systems.

The OpenEMIS initiative aims to drive the process toward better education outcomes through the availability of better, more timely, accurate and sub-national data for decision-making.  The specific objectives are:

  • To ensure that education data are made available for improved decision-making,
  • To build capacity and transfer the latest free open source technology to be fully owned and managed by the government,
  • To leverage technological mechanisms for education information visualization, analysis and dissemination (tables, graphs, maps, profiles, dashboards)

OpenEMIS is a suite of interrelated software solutions that collects and manages data into a data warehouse, and disseminates this data via visualizations, dashboards, and monitoring tools.

Figure 1: OpenEMIS Architecture Diagram

This sector-wide suite of tools is designed to strengthen statistical information on education with agile and cost-effective solutions that can be easily adapted to the needs of information producers and users in a specific country setting. The flexibility of OpenEMIS allows for its use in a variety of situations, including ministries of education, national statistics offices, and for education administrators at the regional, local and school levels.  UNESCO coordinates the OpenEMIS imitative with strong technical support provided by Community Systems Foundation.

OpenEMIS Features

OpenEMIS has a number of independent and interconnected solutions to:  (a) data capture on institutions, students, staff;  (b) computation of standards-based education indicators in compliance with internationally recommended methodology; (c) consolidated data warehouse of all education data in the region; (d) advanced methods for data reporting, data visualization, and dissemination to all stakeholders, including ministry planners, principals, teachers, parents, students. OpenEMIS offers several products and services, including OpenEMIS Core that enables administrators to manage students across multiple schools, and OpenEMIS Dashboard that enables administrators to build custom dashboards to monitor indicators.

OpenEMIS provides capacity building through professional training and on-site technical missions to key government stakeholders in the operation and administration of OpenEMIS (see Figure 2).  This capacity building approach focuses on the transfer of technology and know-how to create a self-sufficient and sustainable OpenEMIS team within the country.

Figure 2: OpenEMIS Methodology

OpenEMIS Impact

This year the OpenEMIS initiative has been further expanded with new countries, new product development, and process strengthening. The Initiative is expanding the number of countries implementing the technology with both Belize and Jordan implementing the system in the 2015-2016 school year impacting the lives of over 1.5 million students.

The OpenEMIS system now offers any Ministry of Education around the world the ability to publish real-time, engaging visualizations of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) about their schools, subnational regions, and countries. With the click of a button principals, teachers, and communities can visualize and share information in maps, tables, graphs, and charts. As a result, schools will not only produce data, but will also have access to, utilize, and see the impact of the information they produce.

Image 1: OpenEMIS Training in Belize

The Ministry of Education, Youth, & Sports (MOEYs) conducted trainings across Belize in coordination with the OpenEMIS Support team. Officials in each District Education Centers were trained in school administration to provide support to principals across the country.


Contact info: Sabrina Aggarwal,