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
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 under 5 years of age 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
Percentage 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, including gender equality and human rights, are mainstreamed at all levels 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 with access to: (a) electricity; (b) the Internet for pedagogical purposes; (c) computers for pedagogical purposes; (d) adapted infrastructure and materials for students with disabilities; (e) basic drinking water; (f) single-sex basic sanitation facilities; and (g) basic handwashing facilities (as per the WASH indicator definitions)
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 in: (a) pre-primary; (b) primary; (c) lower secondary; and (d) upper secondary education who have received at least the minimum organized teacher training (e.g. pedagogical training) pre-service or in-service required for teaching at the relevant level in a given country
Progress and Info
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on schooling is a ‘generational catastrophe’. Before the pandemic, progress made was already slow and insufficient to reach the SDG education targets. School closures brought by the pandemic have had devastating consequences for children’s learning and wellbeing. Hundreds of millions of children and youth are falling behind in their learning, which will have long-term impacts. One year into the COVID-19 crisis, 2 in 3 students worldwide are still affected by full or partial school closures. The most vulnerable children and those unable to access remote learning are at an increased risk of never returning to school, and even being forced into child marriage or child labor.
It is estimated that an additional 101 million children and youth (from grades 1 to 9) fell below the minimum reading proficiency level due to COVID-19 in 2020, which wiped out the education gains achieved over the last 20 years. Recovery could occur by 2024, but only if exceptional efforts are devoted to the task through remedial and catch-up strategies.
Just before the pandemic struck, 53% of young people were completing secondary school globally, but only 29% in sub-Saharan Africa. Depending on the duration of school closures, which is causing learning losses and affecting the motivation to be in school, and the extent to which poverty might increase, which add to the obstacles faced by disadvantaged children, the growth in school completion rates may slow down or even reverse.
Pre-COVID-19 data from 76 countries and territories (mostly low- and middle-income) for the period 2012-2020, indicate that around 7 in 10 children aged 3 and 4 are developmentally on track, with no significant differences by child’s sex. However, many young children are unable to attend early childhood education due to the pandemic and are therefore now entirely reliant on their caregivers for nurturing care. Unsafe conditions, negative interactions with caregivers and lack of educational opportunities during the early years can lead to irreversible outcomes, affecting a child’s potential for the remainder of his/her life.
The participation rate in organized learning one year before the official primary entry age rose steadily in the years before the COVID-19 outbreak, from 65% in 2010 to 73% in 2019, but with considerable variation between countries ranging from 12% to nearly 100%. Gender parity has been achieved in every region. This progress over the past years is threatened since 2020, as early education facilities and primary schools closed in most countries, preventing or limiting access to education, especially for children from low- and middle-income countries.
Disparities in access to education and learning outcomes remain persistent across a range of education indicators. For example, there were still only 92 literate women aged 15 years or older for every 100 literate men of the same age in 2019. Almost half of countries with recent data did not meet gender parity in primary completion, and only a handful of countries demonstrate parity in tertiary enrolment ratios. Disparities by location (urban vs rural) and household wealth are typically more extreme, with a respective one third and one sixth of countries meeting parity in primary completion, and no countries with recent data reaching parity in tertiary attendance. The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to lead to a reversal of recent progress towards equity. With the shift to remote learning, those from the poorest households and other vulnerable groups are less equipped to participate and more likely to drop out permanently or for extended periods.
Based on data between 2017 and 2019, globally, more than a fifth of primary schools do not have access to basic drinking water and more than a third do not have basic handwashing facilities. Across the LDCs, more than two thirds of primary schools do not have access to electricity. Availability of internet and computers for pedagogical purposes in schools is even lower.
ODA for scholarships amounted to $1.7 billion in 2019, up from $1.3 billion in 2017. France, Japan, EU Institutions, Saudi Arabia and Turkey accounted for 55% of this total.
In 2019, 81% of primary school teachers are trained but the proportion is lower in sub-Saharan Africa (65%) and Southern Asia (74%). With the unprecedented lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to total or partial school closures in most countries, the teaching workforce was severely affected.
Source: Advance unedited copy of 2021 report of the Secretary-General on Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals