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Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4 or Global Goal 4) is about quality
education Education is a purposeful activity directed at achieving certain aims, such as transmitting knowledge or fostering skills and character traits. These aims may include the development of understanding, rationality, kindness, and honesty ...
and is among the 17
Sustainable Development Goals The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked objectives designed to serve as a "shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future".United Nations (2017) R ...
established by the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization whose stated purposes are to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be ...
in September 2015.United Nations (2017) Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 6 July 2017, Work of the Statistical Commission pertaining to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
A/RES/71/313
The full title of SDG 4 is "Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote
lifelong learning Lifelong learning is the "ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated"Department of Education and Science (2000).Learning for Life: Paper on Adult Education Dublin: Stationery Office. pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons ...
opportunities for all". SDG 4 has ten targets which are measured by 11 indicators. The seven "outcome-oriented targets" are: free
primary Primary or primaries may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Music Groups and labels * Primary (band), from Australia * Primary (musician), hip hop musician and record producer from South Korea * Primary Music, Israeli record label Works * ...
and
secondary education Secondary education or post-primary education covers two phases on the International Standard Classification of Education scale. Level 2 or lower secondary education (less commonly junior secondary education) is considered the second and final pha ...
; equal access to quality pre-primary education; affordable technical, vocational and
higher education Higher education is tertiary education leading to award of an academic degree. Higher education, also called post-secondary education, third-level or tertiary education, is an optional final stage of formal learning that occurs after completio ...
; increased number of people with relevant skills for financial success; elimination of all discrimination in education; universal
literacy Literacy in its broadest sense describes "particular ways of thinking about and doing reading and writing" with the purpose of understanding or expressing thoughts or ideas in Writing, written form in some specific context of use. In other wo ...
and
numeracy Numeracy is the ability to understand, reason with, and to apply simple numerical concepts. The charity National Numeracy states: "Numeracy means understanding how mathematics is used in the real world and being able to apply it to make the bes ...
; and education for sustainable development and global citizenship. The three "means of achieving targets" are: build and upgrade inclusive and safe schools; expand
higher education Higher education is tertiary education leading to award of an academic degree. Higher education, also called post-secondary education, third-level or tertiary education, is an optional final stage of formal learning that occurs after completio ...
scholarships for developing countries; and increase the supply of qualified
teacher A teacher, also called a schoolteacher or formally an educator, is a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence, or virtue, via the practice of teaching. ''Informally'' the role of teacher may be taken on by anyone (e.g. whe ...
s in developing countries. SDG 4 aims to provide children and young people with quality and easy access to education plus other learning opportunities. One of its targets is to achieve universal literacy and numeracy. A major component in acquiring knowledge and valuable skills in the learning environment. Hence, the urgent need to build more educational facilities and also upgrade the present ones to provide safe, inclusive, and effective learning environments for all. The prevalence of extreme poverty, insurgency, communal conflicts, and other factors has significantly reduced the progress in many developing countries. Children from poor households have a higher probability of dropping out of school than their counterparts from rich backgrounds. Disparities between rural and urban areas remain high. In
Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion of the larger geographical region of Asia, as defined by some academics, UN bodies and other institutions. It is almost entirely a part of the Middle East, and includes Anat ...
and
North Africa North Africa, or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in t ...
, the ongoing armed conflict has seen an increase in the number of children who are not attending school.
Sub-Saharan Africa Sub-Saharan Africa is, geographically, the area and regions of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara. These include West Africa, East Africa, Central Africa, and Southern Africa. Geopolitically, in addition to the List of sov ...
made the greatest progress in primary school enrolment among all developing regions – from 52 percent in 1990, up to 78 percent in 2012, but large disparities still remain.


Background

"Education for All" has been a popular slogan and has been given attention through different international development courses ever since 1990. It was considered critical at the inception of the
Sustainable Development Goals The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked objectives designed to serve as a "shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future".United Nations (2017) R ...
(SDGs) and tagged SDG 4.
Education Education is a purposeful activity directed at achieving certain aims, such as transmitting knowledge or fostering skills and character traits. These aims may include the development of understanding, rationality, kindness, and honesty ...
is seen as a force for
sustainable development Sustainable development is an organizing principle for meeting Human development (economics), human development goals while also sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services on which the econom ...
, nation-building and peace. Children and young people who gain certain skills such as reading, writing, or counting are more likely to have a better future than their peers who lack these skills. The world is changing and
globalization Globalization, or globalisation ( Commonwealth English; see spelling differences), is the process of interaction and integration among people, companies, and governments worldwide. The term ''globalization'' first appeared in the early 2 ...
requires the world population to quickly adapt and learn to work with newer technologies. The role of education in ensuring sustainable development is not limited to developing regions; but the whole world at large. The major aim of Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) is to provide an inclusive and high-quality education that will improve the learner's standard of living and the community's future. Major progress has been made in promoting access to education, specifically at the
primary school A primary school (in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Australia, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and South Africa), junior school (in Australia), elementary school or grade school (in North America and the Philippines) is a school for primary ed ...
level, for both boys and girls.
Sub-Saharan Africa Sub-Saharan Africa is, geographically, the area and regions of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara. These include West Africa, East Africa, Central Africa, and Southern Africa. Geopolitically, in addition to the List of sov ...
n countries experienced an increase in primary education completion rate from 49 percent in 2000 to 60 percent in 2006. However, increased access does not always translate to improved quality of education or completion of primary school. During the implementation of the MDGs, increment in school enrolment did not translate to improved educational outcomes as 1 out of 4 countries still failed to meet the minimum math proficiency standards. At the end of 2019, there were still millions of children out of school. The closure of schools in 2020 as part of the measures taken to slow the spread of
COVID-19 Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a contagious disease caused by a virus, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The first known case was COVID-19 pandemic in Hubei, identified in Wuhan, China, in December ...
is having an adverse impact on the learning outcome. It has affected more than 90 percent of the world's student population, with an estimated 1.5 billion children and young people having disrupted access to education. Across the world, limited access to the internet has also adversely impacted students' ability to engage in learning opportunities. It is estimated that at least a third of the world's children do not have the technology they need to participate in remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting widespread school closures. The pandemic has also resulted to an increase in educational inequalities with a completion rate of 79% for the well off and 34% for the poor households.


Targets, indicators, and progress

Since 2015, contributions on behalf of GCE's policy were made to give precise division for SDG4. SDG 4 consists of 7 targets, 3 means of actual application, and 12 indicators. Eight of them are supposed to be achieved by 2030, while one is to be achieved by 2020 and the rest have no target years. Each of the targets has one or more indicators to measure progress. The targets include free
primary Primary or primaries may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Music Groups and labels * Primary (band), from Australia * Primary (musician), hip hop musician and record producer from South Korea * Primary Music, Israeli record label Works * ...
and
secondary education Secondary education or post-primary education covers two phases on the International Standard Classification of Education scale. Level 2 or lower secondary education (less commonly junior secondary education) is considered the second and final pha ...
(4.1), equal access to quality pre-primary education (4.2), equal access to affordable technical, vocational and higher education (4.3), increase the number of people with relevant skills for financial success (4.4), eliminate all discrimination in education (4.5), universal
literacy Literacy in its broadest sense describes "particular ways of thinking about and doing reading and writing" with the purpose of understanding or expressing thoughts or ideas in Writing, written form in some specific context of use. In other wo ...
and
numeracy Numeracy is the ability to understand, reason with, and to apply simple numerical concepts. The charity National Numeracy states: "Numeracy means understanding how mathematics is used in the real world and being able to apply it to make the bes ...
(4.6), education for sustainable development and
global citizenship Global citizenship is the idea that one's identity transcends geography or political borders and that responsibilities or rights are derived from membership in a broader class: "humanity". This does not mean that such a person denounces or waives ...
(4.7), build and upgrade inclusive and safe schools (4. a), expand higher education scholarships for developing countries (4. b) and increase the supply of qualified teachers in developing countries (4. c)


Target 4.1: Free primary and secondary education

The main mission of this target is: "By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality
primary Primary or primaries may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Music Groups and labels * Primary (band), from Australia * Primary (musician), hip hop musician and record producer from South Korea * Primary Music, Israeli record label Works * ...
and
secondary education Secondary education or post-primary education covers two phases on the International Standard Classification of Education scale. Level 2 or lower secondary education (less commonly junior secondary education) is considered the second and final pha ...
leading to a relevant and effective learning outcome." In choosing this mission, different issues were considered, with the
mission statement A mission statement is a short statement of why an organization exists, what its overall goal is, the goal of its operations: what kind of product or service it provides, its primary customers or Market (economics), market, and its geographical ...
itself stipulating that: students are publicly-funded, engaged through inclusive education regardless of their differences, resources, and means are equitably distributed, education has to be instrumental towards a profound learning outcome regardless of race, gender or ethnicity. This target has two indicators: * Indicator 4.1.1: "Proportion of children and young people (a) in grade 2/3; (b) at the end of primary; and (c) at the end of lower secondary achieving at least a minimum proficiency level in (i) reading and (ii) Mathematics, by sex" * Indicator 4.1.2: "Completion rate (primary education, lower secondary education, upper secondary education)". Non-proficiency rates remain disturbingly high despite steady growth in enrollment over the years. 88 percent of children (202 million) of primary and lower secondary school age were not proficient in reading, and 84 percent (193 million) were not proficient in Mathematics in 2015 in
sub-Saharan Africa Sub-Saharan Africa is, geographically, the area and regions of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara. These include West Africa, East Africa, Central Africa, and Southern Africa. Geopolitically, in addition to the List of sov ...
.United Nations (2019
sustainable development goals report
New York
School closures and constrained finances due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 are likely to exacerbate these inequalities. Girls are at particular risk of not returning to school.BMGF (2020) Covid-1
A Global Perspective - 2020 Goalkeepers Report
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, USA
This will work against achieving SDG 10, to reduce inequality.
Remote learning Distance education, also known as distance learning, is the education of students who may not always be physically present at a school, or where the learner and the teacher are separated in both time and distance. Traditionally, this usually in ...
opportunities could help but are beyond the reach of many students (less than one-third of the population across Africa has broadband access. The importance of SDG 4 in this target lies in strategically working on the learner's character and academic level for a better world.


Target 4.2: Equal access to quality pre-primary education

The full main aim of this target is: "By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre‑primary education so that they are ready for primary education." This target has two indicators: * Indicator 4.2.1: "Proportion of children under 5 years of age who are developmentally on track in health, learning, and psychosocial well-being, by sex" * Indicator 4.2.2: "Participation rate in organized learning (one year before the official primary entry age), by sex" At the global level, the participation rate in early childhood education was 69 percent in 2017, up from 63 percent in 2010. However, considerable disparities were found among least developed countries with rates ranging from 7 percent to nearly 100 percent.
Sub-Saharan Africa Sub-Saharan Africa is, geographically, the area and regions of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara. These include West Africa, East Africa, Central Africa, and Southern Africa. Geopolitically, in addition to the List of sov ...
faces the biggest challenges in the provision of basic school resources. As much as the emphasis is laid on the imbalances between compared countries, the crucial aspect of
gender equality Gender equality, also known as sexual equality or equality of the sexes, is the state of equal ease of access to resources and opportunities regardless of gender, including economic participation and decision-making; and the state of valuing d ...
even in education should not be overlooked. It has been proposed in 2020 that Indicator 4.2.1 should be deleted: "the portion of the indicator that measures progress for children 0-23 months that is currently tier III is proposed to be deleted".


Target 4.3: Equal access to affordable technical, vocational, and higher education

The full title of this target is: "By 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and
tertiary education Tertiary education, also referred to as third-level, third-stage or post-secondary education, is the educational level following the completion of secondary education. The World Bank, for example, defines tertiary education as including univers ...
, including university." This target has one indicator: Indicator 4.3.1 is "Participation rate of youth and adults in formal and non-formal education and training in the previous 12 months, by sex". In terms of the progress made, global participation in tertiary education reached 224 million in 2018, equivalent to a gross enrollment ratio of 38%. North Africa and West Asia are among the top regions with the most rapid expansion of tertiary education participation since 2013. Studies have shown that investment to education boost a positive mainstream for children to study at schools. In addition, computer-assisted learning had more positive effect compared to having new teaching materials.


Target 4.4: Increase the number of people with relevant skills for financial success

The full title of this target is: "By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and
entrepreneurship Entrepreneurship is the creation or extraction of economic value. With this definition, entrepreneurship is viewed as change, generally entailing risk beyond what is normally encountered in starting a business, which may include other values th ...
." This target has one Indicator: Indicator 4.4.1 is the "Proportion of youth and adults with
information and communications technology Information and communications technology (ICT) is an extensional term for information technology Information technology (IT) is the use of computers to create, process, store, retrieve, and exchange all kinds of Data (computing), data . ...
(ICT) skills, by type of skill".


Target 4.5: Eliminate all discrimination in education

The full title of this target is: "By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities,
indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples are culturally distinct ethnic groups whose members are directly descended from the earliest known inhabitants of a particular geographic region and, to some extent, maintain the language and culture of those original people ...
and children in vulnerable situations." This target has one indicator: Indicator 4.5.1 is "Parity indices (female/male, rural/urban, bottom/top wealth quintile and others such as disability status, indigenous peoples and conflict-affected, as data become available) for all education indicators" In 2016, two-thirds of 750 million adults are illiterate women. Adult literacy rates are lowest in
sub-Saharan Africa Sub-Saharan Africa is, geographically, the area and regions of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara. These include West Africa, East Africa, Central Africa, and Southern Africa. Geopolitically, in addition to the List of sov ...
and Southern Asia. Southern Asia alone is home to nearly half (49 percent) of the global population who are illiterate. The agenda can be challenging for those regions or countries to reach the goal by 2030 because income and gender inequality are seen more often in higher educational levels. While disabled students are increasing in higher educational institutions, many institutions, while disabled students face barriers on a daily bases, are not ready to support those students yet.


Target 4.6: Universal literacy and numeracy

The full title of this target is: "By 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men, and women, achieve
literacy Literacy in its broadest sense describes "particular ways of thinking about and doing reading and writing" with the purpose of understanding or expressing thoughts or ideas in Writing, written form in some specific context of use. In other wo ...
and
numeracy Numeracy is the ability to understand, reason with, and to apply simple numerical concepts. The charity National Numeracy states: "Numeracy means understanding how mathematics is used in the real world and being able to apply it to make the bes ...
." This target has one indicator: Indicator 4.6.1 is the "Proportion of population in a given age group achieving at least a fixed level of proficiency in functional (a) literacy and (b) numeracy skills, by sex". Population census and household surveys regarding simple sentences used in daily life will identify literacy data. It is one of the processes to recognize the current literacy data in order to achieve the goals set forth by the SDGs. “Despite the steady rise in literacy rates over the past 50 years, there are still 773 million illiterate adults around the world, most of whom are women”. To facilitate the expansion of comprehensively designed basic learning programs, providing a variety of learning methods and setting standards for gradual progression by ability are required. In order to expand the learning programs, more precise information collection is required. To collect this information, Global Alliance to Monitor Learning (GAML) is developing the necessary tools for methodology and standardization.


Target 4.7: Education for sustainable development and global citizenship

The full title of this target is: "By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote
sustainable development Sustainable development is an organizing principle for meeting Human development (economics), human development goals while also sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services on which the econom ...
, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles,
human rights Human rights are Morality, moral principles or Social norm, normsJames Nickel, with assistance from Thomas Pogge, M.B.E. Smith, and Leif Wenar, 13 December 2013, Stanford Encyclopedia of PhilosophyHuman Rights Retrieved 14 August 2014 for ce ...
,
gender equality Gender equality, also known as sexual equality or equality of the sexes, is the state of equal ease of access to resources and opportunities regardless of gender, including economic participation and decision-making; and the state of valuing d ...
, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence,
global citizenship Global citizenship is the idea that one's identity transcends geography or political borders and that responsibilities or rights are derived from membership in a broader class: "humanity". This does not mean that such a person denounces or waives ...
and appreciation of
cultural diversity Cultural diversity is the quality of diverse or different cultures, as opposed to Monoculturalism, monoculture, the global monoculture, or a homogenization of cultures, akin to cultural evolution. The term "cultural diversity" can also refer to ha ...
and of culture's contribution to sustainable development." This target has one indicator: Indicator 4.7.1 is the "Extent to which (i) global citizenship education and (ii) education for sustainable development, including gender equality and human rights, are mainstreamed at all levels in (a) national education policies; (b) curricula; (c) Teacher education; and (d) student assessment" There is currently no data available for this indicator. The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) has proposed a SDG Global Monitoring Indicators arranged for SDG 4.7 to calculate the percentage of girls and boys achieving proficiency in literacy and mathematics, by the end of lower secondary schooling cycle based on national benchmarks. This indicator can be used to compare across countries and see the improvements from previous years. Education plays an important role in improving the human capital of the labor force and it “is considered as an important determinant of sustainable economic growth”. While organizations around the world are putting efforts to achieve this goal, some critics suggest the UN Decade might seem too ideal. Some scholars also pointed out that although higher educational institutions are striving for sustainable development, they are still on their early stage.


Target 4.a: Build and upgrade inclusive and safe schools

The full title of this target is: "Build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all." This target has one indicator: Indicator 4.a.1 is the "Proportion of schools with access to (a) electricity; (b) the Internet for pedagogical purposes; (c) computers for pedagogical purposes; (d) adapted infrastructure and materials for students with disabilities; (e) basic drinking water; (f) single-sex basic sanitation facilities; and (g) basic hand-washing facilities (as per the
WASH WASH (or Watsan, WaSH) is an acronym that stands for "Water supply, water, sanitation and hygiene". It is used widely by non-governmental organizations and Aid agency, aid agencies in Developing country, developing countries. The purposes of prov ...
indicator definitions)"


Target 4.b: Expand higher education scholarships for developing countries

The full title of this target is: "By 2020, substantially expand globally the number of
scholarship A scholarship is a form of Student financial aid, financial aid awarded to students for further education. Generally, scholarships are awarded based on a set of criteria such as academic merit, Multiculturalism, diversity and inclusion, athleti ...
s available to
developing countries A developing country is a sovereign state with a lesser developed Industrial sector, industrial base and a lower Human Development Index (HDI) relative to other countries. However, this definition is not universally agreed upon. There is al ...
, in particular least developed countries,
small island developing States Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are a group of developing country, developing countries that are small island country, island countries which tend to share similar sustainable development challenges. These include small but growing populat ...
and African countries, for enrollment in
higher education Higher education is tertiary education leading to award of an academic degree. Higher education, also called post-secondary education, third-level or tertiary education, is an optional final stage of formal learning that occurs after completio ...
, including vocational training and information and communications technology, technical,
engineering Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings. The discipline of engineering encompasses a broad range of more specializ ...
and scientific programs, in developed countries and other developing countries." This target has one indicator: Indicator 4.b.1 is "Volume of
official development assistance Official development assistance (ODA) is a category used by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to measure aid, foreign aid. The DAC first adopted the concept in ...
(ODA) flows for scholarships" ODA for scholarships amounted to $1.6 billion in 2018, up from $1.3 billion in 2017.


Target 4.c: Increase the supply of qualified teachers in developing countries

The full title of this target is: "By 2030, substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers, including through international cooperation for
Teacher training Teacher education or teacher training refers to programs, policies, procedures, and provision designed to equip (prospective) teachers with the knowledge, attitude (psychology), attitudes, behaviors, approaches, methodologies and skills they req ...
in developing countries, especially least developed countries and small island developing States." This target has one indicator: Indicator 4.c.1 is "Proportion of teachers in) pre-primary; (b) primary; (c) lower secondary; and (d) upper secondary education who have received at least the minimum organized teacher training (e.g. pedagogical training) pre-service or in-service required for teaching at the relevant level in a given country"
Sub-Saharan Africa Sub-Saharan Africa is, geographically, the area and regions of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara. These include West Africa, East Africa, Central Africa, and Southern Africa. Geopolitically, in addition to the List of sov ...
is behind with the lowest percentages of trained teachers in pre-primary (48 percent), primary (64 percent), and secondary (50 percent) education in 2017. A report from 2020 found that the percentage of primary school teachers receiving the minimum pedagogical training according to national standards has stagnated at 85 percent since 2015. The percentage is lowest in sub-Saharan Africa (64 percent) and Southern Asia (72 percent).


Custodian agencies

The custodian agency for most of the indicators of the targets is UNESCO-UIS. In addition,
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a List of specialized agencies of the United Nations, specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) aimed at promoting world peace and security through international coope ...
is the custodian agency for some of the indicators. The
International Telecommunication Union The International Telecommunication Union is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for many matters related to information and communication technologies. It was established on 17 May 1865 as the International Telegraph Unio ...
is the custodian agency for Indicator 4.4.1.
OECD The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD; french: Organisation de coopération et de développement économiques, ''OCDE'') is an intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental organisation with 38 member countries ...
is the custodian agency for Indicator 4.b.1. UNESCO-ED/PSD/ ESD is the custodian agency for indicator 4.7.1.


Challenges


Impact of COVID-19 pandemic

Just as all SDGs, achieving SDG 4—for inclusive and equitable access to education—is likely to be missed due to the
COVID-19 pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic, also known as the coronavirus pandemic, is an ongoing global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The novel virus was first identif ...
. There is a projection that more than 200 million children will still be out of education by 2030. COVID-19 highlighted the significance of health literacy and the system's failure to provide an equal opportunity of education for everyone. Health literacy can be described as the ability of an individual to make decisions based on healthcare provider’s advice. Actions are called to include health literacy in basic educational curriculum systems to foster educated individuals to slow down the spread of diseases such as COVID-19. After the pandemic hit, school closure (including universities) starting in April 2020 affected up to 91 percent of enrolled learners. Most of the world's children were deprived of formal education during the COVID-19 outbreak—a legacy that could threaten the SDGs' underlying ambition to leave no one behind (LNOB). Many educational institutions are attempting to maintain programs through
online education Distance education, also known as distance learning, is the education of students who may not always be physically present at a school A school is an educational institution designed to provide learning spaces and learning environments ...
. In OECD countries, although the impact of COVID-19 was huge, there are also possibilities to generate new types of education system. However, equity remains a major constraint on access to distance learning, as many students in developing countries do not either have access to the internet or a safe and supportive learning environment appropriate for e-learning. To foster international collaboration and ensure that education never stops, UNESCO in March 2020 launched the COVID-19 Global Education Coalition, a multi-sector partnership between the UN family, civil society organizations, media, and IT partners to design and deploy innovative solutions.


Links with other SDGs

Achieving SDG 4 will help to achieve these other SDGs: eradicate poverty ( SDG 1), achieve gender equality ( SDG 5), ensure good health and wellbeing ( SDG 3), reduce inequalities among countries ( SDG 10), promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and decent work for all ( SDG 8), build resilient infrastructure and foster innovation ( SDG 9), ensure access to information and awareness for sustainable consumption and style of production in harmony with nature ( SDG 12), provide education and awareness toward taking urgent action to combat climate change ( SDG 13), and promote peaceful and inclusive societies ( SDG 16).


Monitoring and progress

An annual report is prepared by the
Secretary-General of the United Nations The secretary-general of the United Nations (UNSG or SG) is the chief administrative officer of the United Nations and head of the United Nations Secretariat, one of the United Nations System#Six principal organs, six principal organs of the Un ...
evaluating the progress towards the
Sustainable Development Goals The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked objectives designed to serve as a "shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future".United Nations (2017) R ...
.United Nations Economic and Social Council (2020
Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals Report of the Secretary-General
High-level political forum on sustainable development, convened under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council (E/2020/57), 28 April 2020
Established in 2002, the Global Education Monitoring Report is an editorially independent report, hosted and published by UNESCO. At the 2015 World Education Forum, it received a mandate from 160 governments to monitor and report on progress on education in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with particular reference to the SDG 4 monitoring framework. It also monitors the implementation of national and international strategies to help hold all relevant partners to account for their commitments, as part of the overall SDG follow-up and review process
Five reports have been published
since 2015. Progress is difficult to track as 75 percent of countries have no or insufficient data to track progress towards SDG Goal 4 targets for learning outcomes (target 1), early childhood education (target 2), and effective learning environments. Data on learning outcomes and pre-primary school are particularly scarce; about 70% of countries partially or fully lack adequate data to evaluate progress made so far, this includes countries with high income that are expected to have achieved the target or to be on track to achieve it. 40 percent of nations around the world have insufficient accessible data concerning organized learning at least a year before their primary education. This makes it hard to analyze and identify the children at greatest risk of being left behind. A 2019 study used
computer modeling Computer simulation is the process of mathematical modelling, performed on a computer, which is designed to predict the behaviour of, or the outcome of, a real-world or physical system. The reliability of some mathematical models can be deter ...
to estimate educational attainment for men and women from 2000 to 2017, mapping the results for each country to help identify areas lagging behind. Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are free open education offered through online platforms. The initial philosophy of MOOCs was to open up quality
Higher Education Higher education is tertiary education leading to award of an academic degree. Higher education, also called post-secondary education, third-level or tertiary education, is an optional final stage of formal learning that occurs after completio ...
to a wider audience. As such, MOOCs are an important tool to achieve SDG 4. At the same time, MOOCs also contribute to Goal 5, in that they are gender-neutral and can give women and girls improved access to education.


Organizations

Organizations that are involved in ensuring quality education is achieved include: * Plan International *
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a List of specialized agencies of the United Nations, specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) aimed at promoting world peace and security through international coope ...
*
UNICEF UNICEF (), originally called the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund in full, now officially United Nations Children's Fund, is an agency of the United Nations responsible for providing Humanitarianism, humanitarian and Devel ...
* The Global Education Monitoring Report * Global Partnership for Education * The United Nations Girls' Education Initiative * Childhood Education International * UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization-Institute for Statistics (UNESCO-UIS). * United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) * International Telecommunication Union (ITU)


US Based Organizations

In the US there are over sixty-one thousand tax-exempt organizations working on issues related to UN SDG 4, according to data filed with the Internal Revenue Service –IRS and aggregated by X4Impact. X4Impact, with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, and Giving Tech Labs, created a free online interactive too
Quality Education in the US
This online tool enables users to see education-related indicators nationally and by state, as well as relevant information for over sixty-one thousand tax-exempt organizations in the US working on issues related to UN SDG 4. The nonprofit data in the tool is updated every 15 days while the indicators are updated annually.


References


External links


UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform – SDG 4

“Global Goals” Campaign - SDG 4

SDG-Track.org - SDG 4

UN SDG 4 in the US
{{Sustainable Development Goals Sustainable development Sustainable Development Goals