Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
United Nations Department 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

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the world was already off-track to achieve its education targets. If no additional measures are taken, only one in six countries will meet SDG4 and achieve universal access to quality education by 2030. An estimated 84 million children and young people will still be out of school and an estimated 300 million student will still not have the basic numeracy and literacy skills they need to succeed in life. To deliver SDG4, education systems must be re-imagined, and education financing must become a priority national investment.

Target 4.1: Between 2015 and 2021, the school completion rate increased from 85% to 87% in primary, from 74% to 77% in lower secondary and from 54% in 2015 to 58% in upper secondary education. Even before the onset of COVID19, these rates had slowed down relative to progress in 2010–15. Looking closely at reading levels at the end of primary school, for which trend data cover 34% of the world’s children, the analysis shows that global learning levels showed no progress between 2015-2019. Furthermore, learning losses due to COVID-related school closures have been documented in 4 out of 5 of the 104 countries that have carried out such studies.

Target 4.2: Participation rate in organized learning one year before the official primary entry age has stagnated at around 75% since 2015, still far from the target of ensuring that all girls and boys have access to quality pre-primary education by 2030.

Target 4.3: Among 131 countries with data from 2017 onwards, on average approximately one in six youth and adults aged 15-64 recently participated in formal or non-formal education and training. Participation is substantially higher among youth aged 15-24 (40%-50%), compared to those aged 25-55 (only 5% for most regions).

Target 4.a: Basic school infrastructure is far from universal. In 2020, approximately a quarter of primary schools globally do not have access to basic services such as electricity, drinking water and basic sanitation facilities. For other facilities such as computer facilities and the provision of disability adapted infrastructure, figures are substantially lower, with around 50% of primary schools with access.

Target 4.c: Globally, in 2020, over 14% of teachers are still not qualified according to national norms, with little improvement since 2015.