A report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics (UIS) and the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report examines the targets countries have set to try to meet Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 on inclusive and equitable quality education by the 2030 deadline.
Setting commitments: National SDG 4 benchmarks to transform education explores the progress countries have made towards meeting SDG 4 since 2015. It describes how benchmarking allows countries to set their own targets, based on where they are in their journey towards SDG 4. This gives them ownership of the process and the progress achieved while making them accountable.
The report shows that 90% of countries have made a commitment to the SDG 4 targets by setting national benchmarks for 2025 and 2030 which are aligned with national policies. While these benchmarks are expected to accelerate progress towards SDG 4, the report also states that most countries in the world will not meet SDG 4 by 2030, even if all of the targets are met. It estimates that 84 million learners (approximately 5%) will still be out of school, and that only 1 in 6 countries will be close to a minimum of 95% of their young people completing secondary education. In addition, fewer than two-thirds of children are expected to complete primary education, leaving 300 million without minimum learning skills.
As well as reporting on the benchmarks, the report suggests approaches to monitor progress towards the SDG 4 benchmarks. These include using the progress achieved to date to measure the probability of individual countries reaching their benchmark targets by 2030. It also provides case studies to show how countries set their benchmarks and link them to national policies and plans. It is hoped that these case studies will help countries reflect on their own experiences and encourage them to continue to set targets and develop appropriate policy responses.