2021 National SDG 4 benchmarks: fulfilling our neglected commitments

Co-produced with the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, this Report describes the steps taken since 2017 to agree national benchmarks on a selected set of seven SDG 4 indicators: early childhood education attendance; out-of-school rates; completion rates; gender gaps in completion rates; minimum proficiency rates in reading and mathematics; trained teachers; and public education expenditure.  

Two in three countries have directly or indirectly taken part in setting national SDG 4 benchmarks. The results of the global exercise show that, even if countries reach their benchmark values by 2030, the world will still fall short of the ambition expressed in SDG 4, before even accounting for the potential impact of COVID-19 on education systems. Nevertheless, for several benchmark, countries appear to be committing to accelerate progress that is faster than the progress countries managed to achieve over 2000–15. The benchmarks serve as a stark reminder to all parties of the importance of setting national education targets and of properly financing them, particularly in the face of the difficulties brought upon the sector by COVID-19.

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Global Education Observatory website : The observatory contains visualisations of nationally determined benchmarks that represent each country voluntary contribution to the global effort in achieving SDG 4 by the year 2030.