This synthesis summarizes the main recommendations made at the SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee meeting (Paris, 28 February - 2 March 2018). Note that all recommendations recall and are all fully consistent with the principles and recommendations in the Education 2030 Framework for Action and previous recommendations of the Steering Committee.
Strategic Policy Guidance for the Implementation of SDG4:
While recognising that a great deal is being done in all regions to take forward the SDG4 agenda to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”, the SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee has identified a number of bottlenecks in several policy areas that continue to hamper progress towards global targets and commitments. Some bottlenecks relate to education in the broader development context and include: insufficient attention to gender equality; the closing of civil society space; and the persistence of violence, conflict and situations of emergencies. Other bottlenecks more specific to education include: an inadequate focus on SDG4 targets and commitments; a narrowing of the broad SDG4 agenda with neglect of youth and adult education and skills development, both formal and non-formal; insufficient attention to the conditions and status of teachers; inadequate financing of education; limited capacity for policy design and implementation informed by research and evidence; as well as poor mainstreaming of Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship Education. In light of these bottlenecks, the SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee makes the following recommendations in respect of SDG4 policy and strategy:
- Governments are encouraged to address these bottlenecks, as relevant to their national contexts and priorities, and in accordance with national legislation.
- While prioritization of SDG4 targets is necessary to reflect national policy context and needs, governments should ensure that the commitment to equal opportunity to effective and quality learning is pursued at all levels and strands of education and training.
- Governments, co-convening agencies, regional organizations and civil society networks should strengthen national ownership of the 2030 Framework for Action, the SDG4 targets and commitments and indicative strategies through national and regional education consultations and mainstreaming of the SDG4 targets in their education systems.
- Governments are encouraged to strengthen education sector-wide and inter-sectoral coordination, mobilizing the range of ministerial departments involved in the achievement of SDG4 targets and commitments.
Financing of Education
Efforts to address the financing challenges and to fill the financing gap and achieve SDG4 requires strengthened domestic and external funding. Increasing the volume of resources and their effectiveness must involve a collective, harmonized combination of domestic financing, official development assistance, and innovative financing, emphasizing that the three must interact and complement each other and be consistent with the principles outlined in the Education 2030 Framework for Action. Serving as a forum for dialogue and consultation on financing of education, the SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee recommends that:
- All financing initiatives respect the principle of education as fundamental human right and a public good of which the State is the duty bearer; and the principles of equity, quality and inclusion, as well as 12 years of free, publicly funded education.
- Dialogue should be encouraged between the bearers of innovative financing, donors, and beneficiary states and communities.
- Niches in which innovative funding should have an added value should be identified within a whole-sector approach and not undermine system-wide financing.
- The resources of the private sector should be fully mobilized to complement the State in the financing of public education. Successful partnerships with the private sector will require effective coordination and regulatory mechanisms to ensure transparency and accountability in compliance with established human rights instruments.
- In order to contribute to the increase of the overall resource base for education sector development, innovative financing mechanisms should be explored.
- Innovative financing projects currently being implemented or designed should be subject to independent evaluation.
Review, Monitoring and Reporting at national and cross-national levels
The SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee recognizes the importance of review, monitoring and reporting at the national and cross-national levels as an integral part of policy, planning and implementation of SDG4. It advocates for addressing the data gaps needed to monitor the holistic agenda, as well as adequate financing and strengthened coordination across various stakeholders.
- Governments are encouraged to strengthen data collection, analysis and reporting efforts on the 11 SDG4 global indicators, for monitoring progress at national and cross-national levels. Governments and their partners are encouraged to strengthen and/or develop holistic national evaluation and learning assessment systems that include formative and summative components (if not already in place) and make plans to participate in cross-national assessment programmes, as appropriate. They are also encouraged, as appropriate, to implement combined multipurpose surveys (household and/or school-based) to address data and information gaps in key areas for monitoring the implementation and outcomes of SDG4.
- In order to strengthen accountability, governments are encouraged to report publicly on progress towards national education policy goals on a regular basis, linking them, to the extent possible, to regional and global commitments. Such reporting can be used as key sources for the education section of their SDG Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs).
Regional and cross-national
- Regional and other cross-national coordination mechanisms and organizations with their Member States are encouraged to develop regional and/or sub-regional monitoring and reporting frameworks, including the setting of regional benchmarks, as feasible and contextually appropriate. These frameworks should build on the SDG4 Thematic Indicator Framework, taking into account national priorities, and working closely with the UNESCO Institute for Statistics and the Global Education Monitoring Report.
- Regional and other cross-national coordination mechanisms and organizations are encouraged to strengthen their support to countries in their monitoring and reporting efforts taking into account national priorities, resources, and capacity and implementation needs through peer learning, sharing of experiences, resource mobilization and capacity development. They are also encouraged to harmonize different initiatives at the regional and sub-regional levels.
- As an integral part of policy planning and implementation, the SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee advocates for the investment case for SDG4 monitoring and data collection of US$ 280 million/year, as estimated by the Technical Cooperation Group. The Steering Committee also advocates for predictable financing of the institutions that contribute to producing global public goods and which have a UN mandate to collect data and monitor SDG4, as well as those that provide national capacity development in using the data for policy and planning. The Steering Committee calls for countries, donors, UN agencies and relevant stakeholders to work in a coordinated manner, building on agreed responsibilities and shared cost.