At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many parts of the world came to a standstill. Workplaces and schools were forced to shut down in a bid to contain the spread of the virus. In Mexico schools were closed in March 2020 and as with many countries, students moved from time in the classroom to online learning and homeschooling.
As COVID restrictions were lifted, the Mexican Ministry of Education needed to track the progress of schools reopening across the country. A dashboard was required to show schools across the whole of the country gradually opening post-COVID restrictions.
During crises, data visualisation has a vital role in making sense of complex environments and needs. That’s why MapAction is increasingly being asked for different types of data visualisation and geospatial information tools, such as this dashboard.
Under a long-term service agreement between UNICEF, MapAction and CartONG, UNICEF Mexico requested support for the Mexican Ministry of Education for the system. Together we created the dashboard.
It was created to display and monitor real-time information on key education indicators for all elementary schools. This relied on over 200,000 individual schools uploading their data on a daily basis, and was the first time that this information would be collected and displayed at a national level.
Originally considered as a monitoring and decision-making tool for head teachers and officials, it was amended to be designed for the public, requiring changes to the underlying infrastructure.
The finished dashboard included the quantity of children and teachers returning and trend analysis. As no safe water assessments had been carried out on a country-level since 2013, it also included the supply of safe water facilities.
MapAction carried out the development, setup and support on all the Azure Cloud infrastructure (the back-end part of the development of the dashboard). In addition, MapAction also handled all technical communications with the Ministry of Education’s database engineers, and was in charge of running a series of key tests (Quality Assurance, User Acceptance test, automated system tests, etc.), with the support of CartONG’s team. Among the tasks carried out by CartONG was the development of the front-end of the dashboard. It was imperative for making it user-friendly so that it could be accessible for a diverse range of users. The collaboration between MapAction and CartONG meant that the dashboard was technically effective, whilst also being easy to use.
The dashboard has proven a useful tool for the Ministry of Education, and allowed the transition back to school to be as smooth as possible. The overall feedback from both the Ministry and Unicef Mexico has been positive.