As things stand, only one in six countries is on course to meet the Sustainable Development 4 that aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all, the agency said in a report published on Thursday.
A week after the call for mobilisation launched by agency’s chief Audrey Azoulay at the Transforming Education Pre-Summit in Paris attended by more than 150 ministers,
The report, titled 'Setting commitments: National SDG 4 benchmarks to transform education', is based on data provided by nine in 10 UNESCO Member States. came as a new stark reality check for political and civil society leaders.
According to the report, the percentage of students achieving basic skills in reading at the end of primary school in these countries is expected to increase from 51% in 2015 to 67% in 2030.
Despite the progress, an estimated 300 million children and young people will still not have the basic numeracy and literacy skills they need to succeed in life, while just four in 10 youth in sub-Saharan Africa will be completing secondary school by the end of the decade.
Governments’ data indicated that even if national targets are met, these are insufficient: there will still be an estimated 84 million children and young people not attending school by the end of the decade.
“The majority of governments have now set national benchmarks for progress towards the crucial education goal: it is a sign of serious commitment. But the international community now has the responsibility to boost its efforts by filling the remaining data gaps and by prioritising education funding. It is the only way to respond to identified needs and create a truly transformative impact”, said Stefania Giannini, UNESCO assistant director-general for education.
“COVID-19 aggravated the existing education crisis. By 2030, far too many children are expected to remain out of classrooms. We can and must do better. UNESCO’s leadership is important in supporting governments to set benchmarks at this critical time,” said David Sengeh, minister of basic and senior secondary education, chief innovation officer for the government of Sierra Leone, and chair of the Global Education Monitoring Report’s advisory board.
The report called for strengthening regional and international cooperation so that each country can draw inspiration from its peers in developing and implementing solutions.
UNESCO said it is committed to facilitating dialogue among its 193 member states and will continue to provide its expertise to help improve countries’ monitoring and reporting of SDG 4 targets as they approach 2030.