In 1991 the International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) and a number of Ministries of Education in Southern and Eastern Africa began to work together in order to address training and research needs in Education. The focus for this work was on establishing long-term strategies for building the capacity of educational planners to monitor and evaluate the quality of their basic education systems. The first two educational policy research projects undertaken by SACMEQ (widely known as "SACMEQ I" and "SACMEQ II") were designed to provide detailed information that could be used to guide planning decisions aimed at improving the quality of education in primary school systems.
During 1995-1998 seven Ministries of Education participated in the SACMEQ I Project. The SACMEQ II Project commenced in 1998 and the surveys of schools, involving 14 Ministries of Education, took place between 2000 and 2002. The survey was undertaken in schools in Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zanzibar.
Moving from the SACMEQ I Project (covering around 1100 schools and 20,000 pupils) to the SACMEQ II Project (covering around 2500 schools and 45,000 pupils) resulted in a major increase in the scale and complexity of SACMEQ's research and training programmes.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
Units of analysis in the survey included schools and individuals
v4: Edited, anonymised data for licensed distribution
Data was collected on pupils’ home backgrounds and their school life; classrooms, teaching practices, teachers' working conditions, and teacher housing; enrolments, school buildings and facilities, and school management.
basic skills education [6.1]
The surveys had national coverage of the countries participating in the project, including Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania (including Zanzibar), Uganda, Zambia.
The lowest level of geographic aggregation covered by the data is province, and in some cases, metropolitan area.
The target population for SACMEQ's Initial Project was defined as "all pupils at the Grade 6 level in 1995 who were attending registered government or non-government schools". Grade 6 was chosen because it was the grade level where the basics of reading literacy were expected to have been acquired.
Producers and sponsors
Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Ministries of Education
A stratified two-stage sample design was used to select around 150 schools in each country. Pupils were then selected within these schools by drawing simple random samples.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Data Collection Notes
The main SACMEQ II data collection occurred for 12 of the 15 SACMEQ Ministries of Education in the period September to December 2000, the Mauritius data collection was completed in July 2001, and the Malawi data collection in September 2002.
The data collection for SACMEQ’s Initial Project took place in October 1995 and involved the administration of questionnaires to pupils, teachers, and school heads. The pupil questionnaire contained questions about the pupils’ home backgrounds and their school life; the teacher questionnaire asked about classrooms, teaching practices, working conditions, and teacher housing; and the school head questionnaire collected information about teachers, enrolments, buildings, facilities, and management. A reading literacy test was also given to the pupils. The test was based on items that were selected after a trial-testing programme had been completed.
SACMEQ Director, International Institute for Educational Planning
Licensed datasets, accessible under conditions
Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality. SACMEQ Project 1995-1998 [dataset]. Version 4. Harare: SACMEQ [producer], 2004. Paris: International Institute for Educational Planning, UNESCO [distributor], 2004.
Disclaimer and copyrights
The user of the data acknowledges that the original collector of the data, the authorized distributor of the data, and the relevant funding agency bear no responsibility for use of the data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses.
Copyright, Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Policy
DDI Document ID
University of Cape Town
Date of Metadata Production
DDI Document version
DDI Document - Version 02 - (04/27/21)
This version is identical to DDI_AFR_2000-2002_SACMEQ-II_v01_M but country field has been updated to capture all the countries covered by survey.
Version 01: Adopted from "ddi-af-datafirst-sacmeq2-2000-2002-v1" DDI that was done by metadata producer mentioned in "Metadata Production" section.