SDG 4 scorecard progress report on national benchmarks: focus on early childhood
This is the first attempt to assess progress towards the 2025 and 2030 benchmarks, or national targets, that countries set over the past 18 months on seven SDG 4 indicators, in fulfilment of a commitment they made in 2015. The assessment covers the period 2015–20, just before the onset of COVID-19, which disrupted not only education development but also data collection systems.
It highlights the importance of the benchmarking process, also recognized by the UN Secretary-General in the Transforming Education Summit in September 2022. Compiling the benchmark database has revealed differences in data sources and indicator definitions used, which will require better coordination between the national and global levels to be resolved.
The process further highlights the need for more data, as they are currently insufficient to understand past trends and evaluate future prospects for a number of indicators. In many cases, countries also need to set more and better-informed national targets, notably on the gender gap in completion rates and in learning outcome indicators.
This publication surveys overall progress on all benchmark indicators and looks more closely at individual country progress in three of them. One indicator – the participation rate in organized learning one year before primary – is further analysed to understand how progress may be associated with free and compulsory pre-primary education legislation, equity-oriented regulation of private provision, and public spending. Ultimately, the purpose of benchmarking is to encourage countries to link progress with policy change and learn from other countries’ experience.