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Response to Findings on SDG 4 in the UN SDG Goals 2024 Report

We highlight challenges such as infrastructure deficits, teacher shortages, and digital inequalities, and call for increased funding and student engagement to achieve educational equity by 2030.

Response to Findings on SDG 4 in the UN SDG Goals 2024 Report

The Global Student Forum (GSF) acknowledges the UN's 2024 report and its critical insights into the challenges facing global education. The slow progress towards quality education for all is deeply concerning. With only 58% of students achieving minimum proficiency in reading by 2019 and significant declines in math and reading scores, the situation demands urgent action.

We recognize that inadequate infrastructure, teacher shortages, and insufficient training hinder educational advancements. While technology has provided new opportunities, it has also exacerbated inequalities, particularly affecting marginalized and low-income communities. Addressing these disparities must be a priority.

To achieve the scaled-back 2030 education targets, we support the call for enrolling 1.4 million children in early education annually and improving primary completion rates. Increased funding, enhanced teacher training, and inclusive, accessible schools are essential steps. Furthermore, bridging the digital divide is crucial to ensure equitable access to education.  We commend the progress in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia but emphasize the need for targeted efforts in regions like sub-Saharan Africa, where completion rates remain alarmingly low. The gender disparities highlighted in the report also call for action to ensure equal opportunities for all children, regardless of gender. The unprecedented decline in reading and mathematics scores, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, demands comprehensive strategies to recover lost learning. Data shortfalls in tracking outcomes further complicate these efforts; thus, improving data collection and assessment is vital.

We also stress the importance of integrating climate change and sustainability into curricula. While many countries report progress, implementation remains inconsistent. Students' active participation is crucial in making quality education a reality. Students must be empowered as partners in educational policy-making, curriculum development, and advocacy efforts. Their voices and experiences provide invaluable insights into the challenges and potential solutions within educational systems.

Finally, the GSF urges governments and stakeholders to prioritize legal guarantees and financial support for pre-primary education, as early education is crucial for levelling the playing field. The Global Student Forum remains committed to advocating for quality education and calls for collective efforts, including robust student engagement, to accelerate progress towards SDG 4. Together, we can ensure that all students have access to the education they deserve.

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The Press Office of the Global Student Forum (GSF) handles all media inquiries.