2016 marks a significant year for Sudan: the country prepares next Education Strategic Plan and operationalizes its commitment to Sustainable Development Goal 4 – Education 2030 Agenda in accordance with the Arab Regional Roadmap for SDG 4 – Education 2030 and in full alignment with national education development.
It is in this context, on 4-6 October 2016, the Khartoum office of UNESCO with support of UNESCO Headquarters and Regional Bureau for Education in the Arab States as well as UNICEF Sudan Country Office and in collaboration with the Ministry of Education organized a 3-day workshop “Matching the Global SDG 4 Indicators with the Indicators of Sudan Ministry of Education Strategies”. The workshop is in the result frameworks of the initiatives “Promoting SDG 4 – Education 2030 in the Arab Region” and “Sudan: Paving the Road to 2030 Education” led by UNESCO. The event was attended by some 60 dedicated participants, notably, planning directors from all the states across the country, who were complemented by the professionals of the federal level, international organizations and educational NGOs. The opening ceremony of the event was presided over by H.E. the Minister of Education, Dr. Souad Abdelrazig, the UNESCO Representative to Sudan, Dr. Pavel Kroupkine, the Deputy Representative of UNICEF to Sudan, Ms. Asako Saegusa, and other distinguished education stakeholders and professionals.
The objectives of the workshop were:
· To raise awareness of the participants about the new development agenda in education for sustainable development – about the Education 2030 agenda
· To identify gaps and propose realistic targets for the SDG 4 “Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning” in Sudan setting up relevant indicators for the next 5 year strategic plan for education
· To identify strategies and resources for realizing the proposed targets and means to measure the progress
During her speech in the opening ceremony, the Minister of Education confirmed the commitment of the Ministry to support the UNESCO projects and other educational projects in the country in order to ensure the maximum achievements for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in general and for SDG 4 “Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning” in particular. She also encouraged the participants to be creative mainstreaming SDG 4 and its indicators in the Sudanese education context. The welcome speeches were also delivered by the Director-General of the Educational Planning Department in the Ministry, Dr. Mohamed Salim, the Secretary-General of the National Council for Population, Dr. Limia Abdelghaffar, the UNICEF Deputy Representative, Ms. Asako Saegusa, the Secretary-General of the National Commission for Education, Science and Culture, Dr. Abdulgadir Noureddin, and the UNESCO Representative, Dr. Pavel Kroupkine.
Key outputs of the workshop:
The group discussions have been able to identify gaps and explore potential indicators, which will be incorporated in the 5-year next strategic plan. The participants were also invited to reflect on various policy implications in the process of development and reformulation of the national indicators, as data gaps and capacities are vital for the strengthening of the education system.
The group work of the participants, whose engagement was very high – see the photo gallery below, resulted in delivering 27 policy recommendations. Among others, these are:
1. To Increase the education expenditures up to 6% of GDP and/or 15% of the government budget.
2. To strengthen the accountability, transparency and good governance at all levels of the public education – including the educational institutions.
3. To build up the policies compliant with the SDG 4 and the nationally selected education indicators, and to organize the education budget accordingly.
4. To write a guide on the nationally selected education indicators.
5. To create a suitable inclusive learning environment in schools integrating students with disabilities and other children from vulnerable groups of the Sudanese population.
6. To open channels between formal and non-formal education to ensure lifelong education.
7. To review the national curriculum at all levels of education strengthening important items linked to successful life in a modern society – such as human rights, global citizenship values, practices of a good livelihood, etc.
The newly established National Team for SDG 4 is expected to take them forward for the implementation of the SDG 4 in full alignment with the next and subsequent National Education Strategies leading up to 2030
The workshop initiated the process of unpacking the SDG 4 in Sudan, following a sub-regional technical workshop being organized in Cairo in December 2015 by UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in the Arab States – with the objective to support Member States to start developing national monitoring framework. Having been fully participated in the sub-regional workshop and presented the good progress made so far, Sudan can become a model, which experience starts be valuable for the implementation of the SDG 4 in the Arab region.
The way forward:
While keeping up with a good momentum established by the workshop, the National Team for SDG 4 is encouraged to set up a concrete M&E mechanism for the implementation of the SDG 4, which serves the ongoing 5-year strategic planning efforts.
The group work during the workshop: