This publication provides an overview of the transformative agenda being established by countries, as they set SDG 4 benchmarks for education progress to take ownership of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Inspired by the UN Secretary-General’s 2014 call for countries to embrace ‘a culture of shared responsibility’ based on ‘benchmarking for progress’, paragraph 28 of the Education 2030 Framework for Action also called on countries to establish ‘appropriate intermediate benchmarks for addressing the accountability deficit associated with longer-term targets’. This report outlines the steps taken by countries to set these commitments for 2025 and 2030 against seven indicators and is timed to feed into the second review of SDG 4 at the High-level Political Forum.
The SDG 4 benchmark values now defined for almost nine in ten countries lay out their nationally determined contributions to the common education goal, using a concept embraced by the climate change sector. Twelve countries’ experiences of approaching the challenge of setting benchmarks based on their education sector plans are included, serving as inspiration for other countries to reflect on their own contributions and the task of developing appropriate policy responses in line with their own ambitions for the next decade, especially in the context of recovery from COVID-19.
This publication proposes a way forward for monitoring progress towards the national SDG 4 benchmarks. This way of monitoring will be context-specific, recognizing countries’ starting points, helping link their national with regional and global education agendas.
The benchmarks could be a basis for a compact in which countries commit to increasing their ambition, and, in return, the international community offers a program of support. In other words, a system of political accountability associated to political commitments with a support mechanism to accomplish the task.