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 SACMEQ educational policy research projects 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 2004. The SACMEQ III Project was conducted in between 2005 and 2010 and involved 15 member countries: Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania (Mainland), Tanzania, (Zanzibar), Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The actual data collection took place in 2007. A unique feature of the SACMEQ III research project was the inclusion of the HIV and AIDS knowledge test (HAKT) for Grade 6 learners and their teachers. The SACMEQ III project also represents 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
v1: 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.
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.
All learners at Grade 6 level in 2007 (at the first week of the eighth month of the school year) who were attending registered mainstream (primary) schools.
Producers and sponsors
Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Ministries of Education
A statified two-stage sampling design was employed. In the first stage schools in the defined target population were sampled on a probability-proportional-to-size (PPS) basis from sampling frames that individual countries submitted to the SACMEQ Coordinating Centre. The PPS sampling technique meant that relatively large schools had a higher probability of being selected than smaller schools. In the second stage of sampling learners were sampled from all the Grade 6 classes in each of the sampled schools using computer-generated random numbers. Twenty five (25) learners (minimum cluster size) were sampled where the total number of all enrolled Grade 6 learners at the time of data collection was greater than 25. Where the number of Grade 6 learners was 25 or less than 25 in a school, all the Grade 6 learners were included in the sample.
For a detailed account of how the sampling of schools and learners was carried out, including the software that was used, in the SACMEQ III project the reader may refer to Ross and Saito (in press).
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
SACMEQ Director, International Institute for Educational Planning
University of Cape Town
Licensed datasets, accessible under conditions
Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality. SACMEQ II Project 2005-2010 [dataset]. Version 1. Harare: SACMEQ [producer], 2012. Paris: International Institute for Educational Planning, UNESCO [distributor], 2012.
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