Understanding – and ranking - our new global education targets | Global Partnership for Education

Understanding – and ranking - our new global education targets

Cast your vote for which of the new targets should be prioritized

  Mme Awa Dieng teaches both CE1 and CE2 classes (grades 3 and 4) in the same room.  Maka Dieng Primary School in Tivaouane, Senegal.  (c) GPE/Chantal Rigaud

It’s officially post-2015 – the moment we have been discussing for quite some time. Over the past few years, the international education community, civil society organizations, teachers, agencies and donors have worked vigorously to create a new ambitious and comprehensive set of education targets that are unprecedented in scope. 

Many organizations and agencies are now developing plans to develop the tools and data needed to put this new agenda into action. And yet there continues to be calls to prioritize the targets especially to help guide funding decisions in national plans and aid programs. This blog offers you the change to voice your concerns and tell decision makers which targets should be prioritized in your country over the next fifteen years.

Cast your vote for the new targets

The new targets, campaigned for ferociously over the past few years, tell a very different story from the six Education for All (EFA) goals our Report has been tracking since they began.

Having campaigned for so long for all of the targets to be included in the new agenda, it is now just as important that we campaign to ensure that policy makers in their different national contexts prioritize the right targets in their plans.

This is where you come in. The GEM Report (previously GMR) has launched a campaign so we can tell policy makers what #EducationWeWant. Cast your vote, and tell them which targets you feel are most important in your country. Below you can read more about the content of the new targets to help inform your choice.

Targets1 and 2: Basic education was the most-cited focus for education over the past decade, and thus sits solidly in the first two targets in the new goal. There is still much unfinished business in achieving basic education for all, as the 2015 GMR report showed. The main difference between these targets and EFA goals 1 and 2 is the emphasis on the need for children not only to go to school but also to learn while there. Hence the new targets call for basic education to lead to ‘relevant and effective learning outcomes’, and for early childhood care and education to leave children ‘ready for primary education’.

Target 3. Our new global goal has expanded to look further than basic education as well, so the third target in our new agenda covers new ground and aims to give all access to “affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university”.

Target 4. Skills, one of the goals in the EFA era that received the least attention, has a new target in our new agenda. In the EFA agenda, policy makers were to promote skills for life and to meet the learning needs of youth and adults. In our new agenda, the focus is now on “skills for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship”.

Target 5. Equity in education, an area we all know was easy for policy makers to ignore over the past fifteen years now has its own target. It covers both gender equity as in the fifth EFA goal, and an expanded notion of equity for all levels of education and training for other marginalized groups as well.

Target 6. Literacy, as was covered by EFA 4, now appears as our sixth new education target, with the difference that ambitions now cover not just literacy, but numeracy skills as well. While the fourth EFA goal covered only adults, the new target calls for all youth and a substantial proportion of’ adults to acquire the skills, and replaces our previous goal for just a 50% improvement amongst adults.

Target 7. The seventh target covers the newest area, it might be said, of all. The target makes reference to the purposes of education and the links that it has to other sustainable development goals. Calling for education for sustainable development and global citizenship, the target puts a new onus on policy makers to ensure that not just any education, but the right education is being taught in schools.

And last, but not least, are the three means of implementation, without which the other targets would not be achieved.

Targets 8, 9, 10: These cover the importance of an increased supply of qualified teachers, improved education infrastructure and additional scholarships available to developing countries, none of which were covered in our past agenda, without doubt to the detriment of its success.

Now that you know the full breadth of the framework that national governments have signed up to achieve, voice your preference and help Ministries of Education and aid agencies put their plans in order, by listing which of the above targets you think are most important. We will communicate the results back to you soon, breaking them down by country to see how national contexts impact the choices made.

Comments - Join the Conversation

empathy for all

I am confident that Julia Gillard is an amazing leader. How can education translate to the big picture of sustainable villages as in Africa where the level of government corruption, lack of infrastructure and lack of opportunities seems to allow literate students more likely to be absorbed into corrupt government or low paying jobs. Where is the vision for America's pressure to do business that allows the citizens to win as much as the corporate or business interests do.

Your GPE needs to really outline how corrupt governments of poor countries are still high priority American business partners. How can your organization influence the hand and glove relationship that perpetuates poverty. Without jobs and safety, and without pressure from outside including the UN, the education is too small a piece of the big picture.
Can you make the partnership have more influence toward the corrupt government holding its citizens in poverty?

It's very tough, especially in Africa. There needs to be more visibility for your work and the outcomes.
All the best and good luck,

Disappointed and concerned by the voting approach

EENET and our colleagues in the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) are concerned by the approach being taken. We feel the online voting approach is fundamentally at odds with the spirit of the SDGs and fails to appreciate (and raise awareness of) the fact that none of the targets can or should be achieved in isolation of each other. The exercise oversimplifies the commitment required to ensure inclusive and equitable, quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all. It is misleading to those who do not fully understand the premising and ambition of the goal.

Who will be voting? How do we know they understand the situation across their country or represent those most in need of a voice? Governments and civil society need to be going through comprehensive situation analyses to understand the specific needs in their contexts, from all stakeholder perspectives - and the interconnections between the various targets - if they are to take appropriate actions to achieve SDG4. That is a long way from the seemingly naive and over-simplified process GEMR team is using, which in reality will be votes from people in more privileged positions (those with internet access) who may not represent diverse voices.

In all honesty, when I first saw the campaign I was incredulous that GEMR considered this appropriate. I could not believe GEMR found it sensible to promote an approach that asks people to cherry pick targets and which downplays the necessary complexity of achieving SDG4 in a way that genuinely ensures all means ALL. I really did expect a more well-informed and helpful response to the challenge of moving SDG4 forward.

I would be very interested to see a full justification of how/why GEMR considered this to be the most appropriate way to engage people in dialogue on SDG4 implementation, above the many other possible campaign approaches that would surely have been available. Looking forward to seeing more details from the team in response to these concerns.

Ingrid Lewis
Managing Director
Enabling Education Network

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