The world is facing a crisis of learning, with many children leaving school without the basic skills they need for a prosperous and productive adult life. Two-thirds of the estimated 617 million children and adolescents who cannot read a simple sentence or manage a basic mathematics calculation are in the classroom. Too many are waiting for a quality education that never comes.
As the 2018 SDG 4 Data Digest shows, it is not enough to hope that they will stay in school and somehow acquire skills in reading and mathematics. It is critical to monitor those skills as children progress through school. That requires comparable data, over time, to ensure that children – and the education systems that serve them – are on track.
Given the critical importance of learning for the achievement of all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), from poverty reduction to peaceful societies, this year’s edition of the SDG 4 Data Digest is dedicated to the theme of learning outcomes. It showcases the most comprehensive and up-to-date compilation of work to inform the learning indicators of SDG 4.
The Digest discusses learning evidence on early child development, mathematics and reading skills among school-aged children, and digital and work-related skills among youth and adults. It highlights the conceptual frameworks and tools developed by leading authors and institutions to understand, measure, monitor and support learning for all. It also considers the implications of reporting for SDG 4.