SDG 4 Report Calls to Double Finance for Education Monitoring
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The UNESCO Institute for Statistics and the Global Education Monitoring Report have issued a joint assessment of progress toward SDG 4, finding mixed progress toward education targets.

Available statistics show that school completion rates are far from universal, and low-income countries fare poorly in terms of infrastructure in schools (SDG target 4.a), with just 32%% of primary schools having access to electricity, and 60% of upper secondary schools having access to sanitation facilities.

The report also finds substantial gaps in data available for assessing progress against several SDG 4 targets, and a lack of agreed methodology to measure several SDG 4 targets.

July 2019: The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics and the Global Education Monitoring Report have issued a joint assessment of progress toward SDG 4 (quality education). The report finds mixed global progress towards education targets, and calls on countries to “put an end to complacency.”

Available statistics show that school completion rates are far from universal, and low-income countries fare poorly in terms of infrastructure in schools (SDG target 4.a), with just 32%% of primary schools having access to electricity, and 60% of upper secondary schools having access to sanitation facilities. The report titled, ‘Meeting Commitments: Are Countries on Track to Achieve SDG4?’, sets out findings by each SDG 4 target. With regard to target 4.1 on school completion, 18% of all school-age children and youth did not attend school in 2017, and global trends suggest there will only be only a slight improvement, with 14% of chilld-age children failing to complete their scho0oling by 2030. On early childhood education (target 4.2), the report notes that just 62% of pre-school-age children in low-income countries are considered to be “on track” with readiness to enter primary school. On literacy (target 4.6), the youth literacy rate is expected to reach 94% and the adult literacy rate 90% by 2030. On education for sustainable development (target 4.7), 60% of reporting countries have “fully reflected” the target in national education policies.

The report finds substantial gaps in data available for assessing progress against several SDG 4 targets. Monitoring also has been hampered by the lack of an agreed methodology to measure several SDG 4 targets. To fill the gaps, they recommend that countries prioritize conducting learning assessments, and carry out household or school surveys that provide data on targets that are not currently being monitored by education systems. These include SDG targets 4.3 on tertiary education, 4.4 on relevant work skills, 4.6 on literacy, as well as 4.a and 4.c. The authors call on aid donors to make up the difference between the USD148 million currently spent on such monitoring per year, bringing resources to the USD280 million year that they estimate is needed.

The Education for 2030 Framework for Action, a global plan agreed by countries in 2015, urges governments to allocate at least 4-5% of GDP and less than 15% of their national budget on education. However, at present, one in four countries do not meet this minimum recommended level.

The SDG 4 monitoring report was issued ahead of the first-ever intergovernmental review of SDG 4, which took place during the July 2019 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), in New York, US. Two other reports were released at the same time: ‘Beyond Commitments: How Do Countries Implement SDG 4‘ showcases good practices and suggests a new framework for evaluating policy coherence; and ‘Let’s Work Together: Education has a key role in helping achieve the SDGs’ is a six-part cartoon that highlights links between SDG 4 and other SDGs. [Publication: Meeting Commitments: Are Countries on Track to Achieve SDG4?]


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