The importance of SDG 4.1.1a for foundational learning

SDG 4.1.1a measures the proportion of children and young people in grades 2 and 3 achieving at least a minimum proficiency level in reading and mathematics. The Global Coalition for Foundational Learning ask that the indicator be recategorized as Tier 1.

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Students read during class at Kivukoni Primary School, Mpanda MC, Katavi, Tanzania.
Students read during class at Kivukoni Primary School, Mpanda MC, Katavi, Tanzania
Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch

The downgrading of SDG 4.1.1a – a key indicator that monitors proficiency in reading and mathematics in the early grades – from Tier 1 to Tier 2 is concerning as this indicator serves to track progress and identify challenges at the start of a child's education journey.

Why SDG 4.1.1a matters

Foundational learning skills such as reading and being able to do basic mathematics are the building blocks that enable children to succeed academically and beyond.

Failure to gain these skills in the early grades negatively affects later academic achievement, perpetuates educational inequalities, and limits opportunities for socio-economic advancement for individuals, communities, and countries.

The downgrading of SDG 4.1.1a could signal a diminished focus on mastering these critical early learning skills and have significant implications for early action and intervention, especially on learners who are already behind.

If reporting does not increase and the required coverage for SDG 4.1.1a is not met by 2025, it will be removed from the global SDG indicator framework as the Inter-agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) plans to eliminate all Tier 2 indicators in 2025.

Therefore, we must urgently reinforce the importance of gaining foundational learning skills in early grades and support uptake of this critical indicator.

Our call to action

We urge and invite the education community to work together, under the leadership of UIS, to keep SDG 4.1.1a as part of the SDG monitoring framework.

Read the statement from the principals of the Global Coalition for Foundational Learning

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