With the Right Data, We Can Still Reach the World’s Education Goal

By Silvia Montoya, Director, UNESCO Institute for Statistics

SDG 4 Data Digest 2019 explores the data methodologies needed to track progress and better direct policies and resources

It is not too late to reach the world’s education goal. At least, not yet. In 2015, United Nations Member States promised to reach Sustainable Development Goal 4 – a quality education for all – by 2030. We are now one-third of the way through the timeframe for its achievement, and it is still possible – just about – to meet the deadline. But without accurate, current and comparable data on education, and without a shift from ‘business as usual’ approaches to the provision and quality of education, the goal could soon be beyond our grasp.

Today, around 258 million children are out of school, according to data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS). If we continue on our current trajectory, one in every six children aged 6 to 17 will still be out of school in 2030 and only six out of ten youth will complete secondary education.

Our data also show that being in school is not enough to guarantee a quality education. According to our estimates, 55% of children and adolescents of primary and lower secondary school age are not achieving minimum proficiency levels in reading and 60% are not reaching these levels in mathematics. Continue reading

Making Disability Visible: How to Generate More and Better Data on Education for Children with Disabilities

By Friedrich Huebler, Head of Education Standards and Methodology at the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), and Stuart Cameron, Thematic Lead on Equity and Inclusion, Global Partnership for Education (GPE)

Two new data resources launched today focus on people with disabilities who are so often disadvantaged and ‘invisible’ when it comes to education. Excluded and uncounted, they are often missing not only from the world’s classrooms, but also from education data. Continue reading

Meet the SDG 4 Data: Equal Access to All Levels of Education and Training for the Most Vulnerable People

By Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS)
This blog was also published by the Global Partnership for Education (
GPE)

Learn about the parity indices used to monitor progress towards Target 4.5, which aims to eliminate inequalities in education.

This series of blogs on the indicators for Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) on education has been careful not to single out any single indicator as being more important than any other. Indeed, if we are to reach SDG 4 – quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for everybody – we have to see all the indicators, from free primary schooling to the availability of qualified teachers, as indivisible.

Yet when we examine SDG Target 4.5 on eliminating disparities in education, we find ourselves at the very heart of the SDG vision. A common thread runs through every SDG goal, target and indicator. That thread is equity, backed by strong determination to ensure that nobody is left behind. SDG Target 4.5 stands squarely at the intersection between this vision and the measurement of its achievement.

Continue reading

What We Know (and the great deal we don’t) about Education and Disability

By Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS)

This blog was also published by ONE

New analysis confirms that persons with disabilities are nearly always worse off than those without disabilities when it comes to education 

Persons with disabilities are among the most marginalised groups in any society. Many face daily discrimination in the form of negative or even hostile attitudes and are often excluded from their fundamental human rights by poor policy choices and lack of specialised services and support. For children with disabilities, this exclusion can include the denial of the basic right to a quality education. Continue reading

Producing Equity Data to End the Education Lottery

By Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), and the authors* of The Handbook on Measuring Equity in Education

This blog was also published by the Global Partnership for Education

It is something we have come to see as self-evident: education is a fundamental right, and without it, our lives – and indeed our world – would be greatly diminished. It is something we even take for granted.

But as the most recent data show, one in every five children, adolescents and youth worldwide is denied this right, shut out of the education that could, or should, transform their lives. They are often the poorest of the poor, the children with disabilities, the refugee or migrant children. They are often girls, but in some countries – and at some levels of education – they are also boys. Continue reading