This blog was originally published by UIS.
The impact of COVID-19 on education is top of mind and finding solutions to revitalize learning is a priority, now more than ever. The UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) is working with regional organizations and education partners to expand the global focus on benchmarking for the Sustainable Development Goals for education (SDG 4) so that regions and countries have more manageable, annual objectives.
With just a decade remaining to achieve SDG 4, it is imperative that all countries have the means to monitor progress and to plan necessary changes for the future. As the custodian of SDG 4 data and the lead agency providing internationally comparable and quality education data, the UIS has been working to help countries deal with this challenge.
One of the most effective ways of achieving the Agenda 2030 is by connecting existing efforts. The Africa Regional Report is a product of this collaborative strategy. Worldwide, there are several regional or sub-regional organizations that produce data and follow the progress of education policies based on common goals. Their transnational commitments require national and regional coordination and monitoring mechanisms to identify progress and obstacles. At the same time, they have articulated – or begun to articulate – their regional objectives with the Education 2030 Agenda.
One example of this is the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA 16-25) adopted by the African Union (AU) in 2016. CESA 16-25 is designed to involve the broadest coalition possible for education and training in Africa. This strategy consists of 12 strategic objectives (SO) that find correspondence with several SDG 4 targets. Both CESA and SDG 4 require similar data points to track countries’ progress on their achievements. At the sub-regional level, countries are grouped within development communities that meet regularly, but their education-related objectives are in alignment with CESA 16-25.
In a new regional report, Continental Overview: Bridging CESA and SDG 4, the UIS assesses the data availability of SDG 4 indicators related to CESA’s objectives for each country in the region. Furthermore, the publication details the progress of those countries from 2016 to 2020.
Teachers are key to achieving education objectives
CESA SO 1 is a clear example of correspondence with SDG 4. This objective aims to “revitalize the teaching profession to ensure quality and relevance at all levels of education”. It is directly related to the SDG 4 Target 4.c, which aims to “substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers, including through international cooperation for teacher training in developing countries, especially least developed countries and small island developing States.”
The global indicator associated with SDG Target 4.c is the “proportion of teachers with the minimum required qualifications, by education level.” Bridging CESA and SDG 4 shows that the indicator had a relatively low coverage across all countries in the region from 2016 to 2020.