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.


Aaron joined the Global Education Monitoring Report team as Director in June 2014, bringing with him decades of experience in global education policy analysis and comparative research. Previous to this...

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