United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all


Related Goals

Targets and Indicators



By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes


Proportion of children and young people (a) in grades 2/3; (b) at the end of primary; and (c) at the end of lower secondary achieving at least a minimum proficiency level in (i) reading and (ii) mathematics, by sex


Completion rate (primary education, lower secondary education, upper secondary education)



By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education


Proportion of children aged 24–59 months who are developmentally on track in health, learning and psychosocial well-being, by sex


Participation rate in organized learning (one year before the official primary entry age), by sex



By 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university


Participation rate of youth and adults in formal and non-formal education and training in the previous 12 months, by sex



By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship


Proportion of youth and adults with information and communications technology (ICT) skills, by type of skill



By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations


Parity indices (female/male, rural/urban, bottom/top wealth quintile and others such as disability status, indigenous peoples and conflict-affected, as data become available) for all education indicators on this list that can be disaggregated



By 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy


Proportion of population in a given age group achieving at least a fixed level of proficiency in functional (a) literacy and (b) numeracy skills, by sex



By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development


Extent to which (i) global citizenship education and (ii) education for sustainable development are mainstreamed in (a) national education policies; (b) curricula; (c) teacher education and (d) student assessment



Build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all


Proportion of schools offering basic services, by type of service



By 2020, substantially expand globally the number of scholarships available to developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States and African countries, for enrolment in higher education, including vocational training and information and communications technology, technical, engineering and scientific programmes, in developed countries and other developing countries


Volume of official development assistance flows for scholarships by sector and type of study



By 2030, 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


Proportion of teachers with the minimum required qualifications, by education level

Progress and Info

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused a global education crisis. Most education systems in the world have been severely affected by education disruptions and have faced unprecedented challenges. School closures brought on by the pandemic have had devastating consequences for children’s learning and well-being. It is estimated that 147 million children missed more than half of their in-class instruction over the past two years. This generation of children could lose a combined total of $17 trillion in lifetime earnings in present value. School closures have affected girls, children from disadvantaged backgrounds, those living in rural areas, children with disabilities and children from ethnic minorities more than their peers.

The proportion of young people completing upper secondary school increased from 54 per cent in 2015 to 58 per cent in 2020, with completion slowing down relative to progress in the preceding five-year period. It is too early to predict the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on completion. Early indications from low-income countries based on phone surveys point to a small decline in attendance upon a return to school but a larger increase in repetition, which may increase dropout rates in coming years.

Data from 73 (mostly low- and middle-income) countries for the period of 2013-2021, indicate that about 7 in 10 children 3 and 4 years of age are developmentally on track, with no significant differences by child’s sex. 

The participation rate in organized learning one year before the official primary entry age rose steadily in the years before the COVID-19 pandemic, from 69 per cent in 2010 to 75 per cent in 2020 but with considerable variation between countries (with the rate ranging from a figure as low as 13 per cent to nearly 100 per cent). This progress is being threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic, as  schoolchildren in early childhood education and the early grades, especially from low- and middle-income countries, are the most affected by education disruption. In most countries, early education facilities and schools were partially or fully closed for more than a full school year.

Based on data for 2016-2018, the participation rate of youth and adults in formal and non-formal education and training in the previous 12 months among countries of sub-Saharan Africa with data is typically about 5 per cent or less compared with a rate of over 40 per cent in Northern American and many European countries.

Insufficient skills are often mentioned as an impediment to effective information and communications technology use. Based on data for 2017-2020, in only 10 per cent of countries could more than 70 per cent of individuals carry out one of the activities that compose basic skills in the last three months such as sending an email with an attachment. In only 15 per cent of countries do more than 40 per cent of people have standard skills such as creating an electronic presentation using presentation software.

Despite improvements, disparities in educational participation and outcomes are persistent. Gender inequalities remain for many indicators. For example, most countries with data have not achieved gender parity in the proportion of children meeting minimum learning proficiency standards in reading, and in the lower secondary completion rate. For the lower secondary completion rate, only one sixth of countries with data had parity between rural and urban areas and almost no countries achieved parity between children of the richest households and children of the poorest.

Basic school infrastructure is far from universal. In 2020, approximately one quarter of primary schools globally did not have access to basic services such as electricity, drinking water and basic sanitation facilities. Figures are substantially lower for other facilities such as information and communications technology and disability-adapted infrastructure, with about 50 per cent of primary schools having such access. Shares among least developed countries tend to be substantially lower, ranging from approximately one half to two-thirds of the global average. During the global pandemic, schools in comparatively disadvantaged areas were less equipped to keep children and staff safe. 

In 2020, there were about 12 million pre-primary school teachers, 33 million primary school teachers and 38 million secondary school teachers working in classrooms around the world, and 83 per cent of primary and secondary school teachers were trained.

Source: Progress Towards the Sustainable Development Goals- Report of the Secretary-General 

For more information, please, check: https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/report/2022/