Setting commitments: National SDG 4 benchmarks to transform education

The report ‘Setting commitments: National SDG 4 benchmarks to transform education’ describes in detail the benchmarking process, proposes a way forward for monitoring progress in education and presents case studies reflecting the experience of 12 countries in establishing their own national SDG 4 benchmarks. The report was first published in July 2022 for the High-level political forum and was updated in September 2022 for the Transforming Education Summit.

In 2014, the UN Secretary-General invited the international community to embrace ‘a culture of shared responsibility’ based on ‘benchmarking for progress’. A year later, the Education 2030 Framework for Action called on countries to establish ‘appropriate intermediate benchmarks … for addressing the accountability deficit associated with longer-term targets’. In the past couple of years, 9 in 10 countries set benchmarks for seven SDG 4 indicators for 2025 and 2030 with the help of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics and the Global Education Monitoring Report.

The benchmarking process allows each country to set its own targets taking into account its specific context, starting point and progress rate. It strengthens countries’ ownership of the targets and makes them accountable; helps align national, regional and global education agendas; improves national planning processes; highlights data gaps; and promotes peer dialogue and sharing of experiences.



Check out the progress in phase II

The second phase of the benchmarking process was initiated in February 2022 when UNESCO invited countries to engage in the process of establishing national benchmarks for selected seven benchmark indicators for 2025 and 2030 reflecting their contribution to the global progress in education.

As a result of this global mobilization, the percentage of countries that submitted national benchmarks increased from 45% in March to over 60% in May.

Read more about the Transforming Education Summit that took place in New York on 16, 17 and 19 September 2022.

Check out the first comprehensive report on the benchmarking process  published in January 2022:  ‘SDG 4 Data Digest 2021 National SDG 4 benchmarks: fulfilling our neglected commitment’.


Check out the blogs

We need to transform education for this generation to be prepared for the future
By Silvia Montoya, Director, UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), and Manos Antoninis, Director, Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report

A call to action on the follow-up of the Transforming Education Summit commitments
By GEM Report
Making commitments at the Transforming Education Summit – and following up on them
By David Sengeh, Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Sierra Leone
Countries’ SDG 4 benchmarks forecast more than 80 million children and youth will still be out of school by 2030
By GEM Report and UNESCO Institute for Statistics
A promise kept: more than half of countries set SDG 4 national benchmarks
By Silvia Montoya, Director, UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), and Manos Antoninis, Director, Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report

Bringing accountability to our promises to transform education’

The Transforming Education Summit (TES) was convened in response to a global education crisis affecting millions of children and youth worldwide, a crisis of equity and inclusion, quality and relevance  (New York, 16-19 September 2022). The Summit aims at putting education at the top of the global political agenda and at mobilizing action, ambition, solidarity and solutions to transform education and recover from the learning losses caused mainly by the pandemic.

Read more about the Summit’s five thematic action tracks that are key levers to transform education by focusing on the areas that require special attention: Inclusive, equitable, safe and healthy schools; Learning and skills for life, work and sustainable development; Teachers, teaching and the teaching profession; Digital learning and transformation; Financing of education.

Bringing accountability to our promises to transform education’ is the TES side event that took place on September 17 to support a movement for accountability around the commitments to be made at the Summit based on the national SDG 4 benchmarking process. It highlighted the need for an accountability mechanism to follow up on the Summit’s commitments; proposed a way forward based on the SDG 4 benchmarking process; and discussed potential flagship indicators and policies to support them. Among the speakers of this side event were the UIS director, Silvia Montoya, and the GEMR director, Manos Antoninis who presented an accountability mechanism to follow up on the commitments. Please check out their presentation entitled ‘Bringing accountability to our promises to transform education: A call to action based on the national SDG 4 benchmarking process’.

Aligning Regional Frameworks With the SDG 4 Framework

Understanding the  alignment and coherence between the global, regional and national education agendas is key to strengthen national planning and to prompt exchanges on challenges and good practices, promote mutual learning and, ultimately, lead to common actions.

A series of regional reports bridging the global SDG 4 framework with regional education monitoring frameworks have been launched, along with data tables and country profiles.

Read more about the alignment of the regional frameworks with SDG 4