Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Education

In September 2015, 193 world leaders committed to 17 Global Goals for sustainable development (the SDGs) to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and protect our planet by 2030. Under SDG 4, the international community has pledged to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” This will require tremendous efforts on the part of all stakeholders, notably governments, donors and international organizations.

Education is at the heart of the global development agenda and, as we had hoped, the fourth goal on education is much more ambitious than its predecessor. The Goal 4 Targets for Quality Education, in general, seek to improve education through greater access and equity for all ages of learners as well as improved and safer learning space an expanded number of qualified teachers.

Goal 4 goes even further and through policy level commitments, recognizes the importance of Education in Emergencies and the need to address the educational needs of children in conflict and crisis. Target 4.5 in particular, “...seeks to ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations.” In addition, Target 4.a seeks to protect educational facilities from attack by providing safe learning environments. Targets 4.5 and 4.a ensure that children in crisis-affected areas are on the SDG4 agenda at national and global levels.

Education in Emergencies and SDG4

Further references to how SDG4 is committed to the EiE are evident throughout the Education 2030 Framework for Action which provides guidance to the international community as they move forward in achieving SDG4 goals.

Specific references to education in conflict settings in the Framework for Action include:

  • Paragraph 9: “It is, therefore, critical to develop education systems that are more resilient and responsive in the face of conflict, social unrest and natural hazards – and to ensure that education is maintained during emergency, conflict and post-conflict situations.
  • Paragraph 25: “Crisis is a major barrier to access to education, stalling and in some cases reversing progress towards the EFA goals in the last decade. Education in emergency contexts is immediately protective, providing life-saving knowledge and skills and psychosocial support to those affected by crisis. Education also equips children, youth and adults for a sustainable future, with the skills to prevent disaster, conflict and disease.”
  • Paragraph 26: “Countries must, therefore, institute measures to develop inclusive, responsive and resilient education systems to meet the needs of children, youth and adults in crisis contexts, including internally displaced persons and refugees.”
  • Paragraphs 27: “Stakeholders should make every effort to ensure that education institutions are protected as zones of peace, free from violence, including school-related gender-based violence.”
  • Paragraph 107: “Urgent efforts should be made to significantly increase support for education in humanitarian responses and protracted crises according to the needs and to ensure a rapid response to conflict and crisis situations.”

Key Stats

The World Inequality Database on Education (WIDE) shows that, across 94 countries, the richest had completed at least 12 years of education (the SDG target) in 36 countries, but the same could only be said for the poorest in 3 countries.

The Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM) has done much work to help expose the extent of the challenges faced by the marginalized, showing that…

Policy Document

Education 2030: Incheon Declaration and Framework for Action

Published by
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Office (UNESCO)
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
World Bank
,
UN Women

On 4 November 2015 in Paris, the international education community adopted the Education 2030 Framework for Action, the foundation that will anchor global efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4).

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Report

Laying the Foundation to Measure Sustainable Development Goal 4

Published by
United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Office (UNESCO)

Measurement and monitoring are vital to inform the policies needed by a range of national and international stakeholders working to make a real and positive impact on people’s lives. This report offers a roadmap for better measurement. It is the first in a new series of publications that reflects the mandate of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) to produce comparable education indicators cross-nationally and to work with partners to develop new indicators, statistical approaches and monitoring tools to better assess progress towards education targets.

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Manual/Handbook/Guide

Quick Guide to Education Indicators for SDG 4

Published by
United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Office (UNESCO)

This guide serves as a quick reference on how to monitor progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) on quality education. It provides basic explanations of SDG 4 targets, their indicators, how they are created and where to find the information needed for these indicators.

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Report

SDG 4 Data Book: Global Education Indicators 2018

Published by
United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Office (UNESCO)
,
UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS)

This publication presents a snapshot of the data used to monitor progress towards the global education goal and targets.

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Report

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018

Published by
United Nations

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018 reviews progress in the third year of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In it's overview, we are presented with highlights of progress and remaining gaps for all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and examines some of the interconnections across Goals and targets.

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Project Brief

Sustainable Development Goal 4 and Refugee Education

Published by
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

This brief provides a short introduction to SDG 4 and how it relates to education for refugees, as well as practical guidance on how to advocate for refugees in national education sector planning and management to achieve the education SDG 4.

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Project Brief

Time to Deliver: Voluntary National Reviews for SDG 4 and Education 2030

Published by
Global Campaign for Education (GCE)

The Voluntary National Review (VNR) process is a critical part of the accountability architecture for the SDGs. This briefing highlights opportunities for engagement of education civil society, nationally and internationally, and lays down our demands in terms of both content and process.

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Mapping

UNESCO eAtlas for Education 2030

Published by
United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Office (UNESCO)

This eAtlas presents 31 of the 33 global and thematic SDG 4 indicators identified by the Technical Cooperation Group on SDG 4-Education 2030 Indicators (TCG) for reporting. It will be regularly updated as new information becomes available. 

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Manual/Handbook/Guide

Unpacking Sustainable Development Goal 4: Education 2030

Published by
United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Office (UNESCO)

This guide, organized around a set of questions and answers to “unpack” SDG4, provides overall guidance for a deeper understanding of SDG4 within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in order to support its effective implementation.

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Chinese (Mandarin)
English
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Report

World Education Forum 2015 - Final Report

Published by
United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Office (UNESCO)

This summary report is based on the proceedings of the World Education Forum organized at Incheon, Republic of Korea, from 19 to 22 May 2015.

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