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An Urgent Call for Action by the SDG4-Education 2030 High-Level Steering Committee

on the occasion of the Transforming Education Summit

We, the SDG4-Education 2030 High-Level Steering Committee representing the global education community, call on all Heads of State and Government to take decisive actions to invest in and transform education as the clearest pathway to our shared goals of peace, prosperity and sustainability.

Investing in education is vital and urgent

We urge you to push education to the top of the political agenda. 

Education is a human right and a public good and responsibility. It is vital for every aspect of a country’s progress: driving economic prosperity, raising women and men out of poverty, reducing inequalities, engaging active and responsible citizens, tackling conflict and violence, protecting and promoting cultural diversity, and sustaining the environment for future generations.  

Yet the world is perilously off track to meet its education goals and targets. The COVID-19 pandemic worsened the crisis in education systems—it increased inequality and it further marginalized millions of vulnerable and disadvantaged learners. This is a silent crisis, but the effects will be severe and long-lasting.

Acting now is critical. Only by investing in people and transforming education can countries prevent a generational catastrophe and instead reap benefits for society, environment, employment and the economy, health and wellbeing, gender equality and peace. Education drives progress across all the Sustainable Development Goals.

Transforming education is the best investment a country can make for its future. Sustained, equitable and scaled-up funding must be at the center of this renewed investment.

Transforming education requires decisive action

We urge you to commit to clear and tangible actions for the recovery and transformation of education.

The High-Level Steering Committee calls on Heads of State and Government and international financial organizations to champion and build these actions around five thematic action tracks, mainstreaming equity and gender equality:  

  1. Prioritize the most marginalized and furthest behind, and those affected by crisis and emergencies by creating learning environments and schools free from violence and discrimination and supported with comprehensive care and health services.  
  2. Skill, re-skill and empower young people and adults for well-being and full development, for green and digital societies and the future of work, and for ensuring sustainability of the planet.
  3. Increase, empower and retain well-trained, well-qualified, motivated and supported teachers and education workforce.
  4. Ensure inclusive and equitable access to digital learning solutions supported by open educational resources as a tool for better learning. Provide all learners with free high-quality digital learning, pedagogical capacity and innovation, and safe use and data protection.
  5. Mobilize investments in education through bold, whole-of-government and international action, including tax reform to raise domestic resources, innovative financing and debt relief, and promoting public-private partnership. Ensure the equitable allocation as well as effective and efficient use of all education investments.

All of these actions are essential for transforming education systems. They must be implemented urgently and effectively to improve learning for all, so that they develop the skills they need for life. All countries should commit to achieving their own national targets and to monitoring their progress, in shared pursuit of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

The High-Level Steering Committee, the apex body for global coordination and monitoring of SDG 4, will be responsible for the follow up of the Transforming Education Summit, including contributing to the education dimension of the Summit of the Future in 2023. It will continue to monitor progress, promote and facilitate knowledge and practice exchange, engage youth, and champion cross-sector and multilateral cooperation.

Watch co-Chair Audrey Azoulay explain the priorities of the Urgent Call for Action

Thematic Focus Area 1: Inclusive, equitable, safe and healthy schools Financing Education Thematic Focus Area 4: Digital learning and transformation Thematic Focus Area 3: Teachers, teaching and the teaching profession Thematic Focus Area 2: Learning and skills for life, work and sustainable development Statement Global