Almost a third of the way to the 2030 deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals, new UNESCO projections prepared for the UN High-level Political Forum
The new global education goal, SDG 4, calls on countries to ensure that children are not only going to school but also learning, yet the proportion of trained teachers in sub-Saharan Africa has been falling since 2000. At current trends, by 2030, learning rates are expected to stagnate in middle-income countries and Latin
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development emphasizes leaving no-one behind yet only 4% of the poorest 20% complete upper secondary school in the poorest countries, compared to 36% of the richest. The gap is even wider in lower-middle-income countries.
Finance is also insufficient for accelerating progress: the Global Education Monitoring Report calculated in 2015 that there was a $39 billion annual finance gap to reach the goal and yet aid to education has stagnated since 2010.
In addition, currently less than half of countries are providing the data needed to monitor progress towards the goal. “Countries need to face up to their commitments,” said the Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Silvia Montoya. “What’s the point in setting targets if we can’t track them? Better finance and coordination are needed to fix this data gap before we get any closer to the deadline.”
The Report shows that many countries have prioritized equity and inclusion since 2015 to meet the goal, with school vouchers issued to indigenous students in Bolivia, tuition fees abolished for the poorest in Vietnam and conditional cash transfers given to refugee children in Turkey, for example.
Learning has been prioritized too, with a third of countries introducing learning assessments to look at trends over time, and one in four countries using learning results to reform their curricula.
The weakest synergies between countries’ plans and their education commitments are seen in the lack of cross-sectoral collaboration found only in links between education and the
The Report recommends countries work using the following six key areas to make sure their plans align with their education commitments:
- Beyond averages to equity and inclusion;
- Beyond access to quality and learning;
- Beyond basics to content fit for sustainable development;
- Beyond schooling to lifelong learning;
- Beyond education to cross-sectoral collaboration; and,
- Beyond countries to regional and global collaboration.
- Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report), UNESCO