More than a year ago, on 25 September 2015, global leaders adopted Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. Some may argue that little has changed in the global landscape since then, as war and conflict have intensified and the means to address the refugee situation continues to elude policy makers. Over the course of the year the challenges of delivering on the expanded ambition SDG4/education were fully recognized, with many critics continuing to emphasize that the targets are unrealistic and unlikely to be achieved. However, many stakeholders, particularly among civil society, emphasised the need to remain committed to an expanded universal vision clearly focused on leaving nobody behind. At the same time there have been some significant developments at national, regional and global levels as actors consider how implementation will be managed in a way that is not only greater in scope but also universal.
However, whilst SDG consultations have improved understanding of the SDG agenda, they have thus far been inadequate. There has not been enough communication and understanding among policy makers, education officers and other stakeholders, from senior levels down to rank and file staff responsible for policy implementation, on what it actually means for their day to day work.
Monitoring and reporting mechanisms for tracking progress toward the SDGs provide an enormous opportunity for learning and building on existing efforts. Yet this too has been a challenge given the delay in finalizing the indicators for monitoring progress. Amid evidence from the GEM Report, another key area of concern in these early stages are the unanswered questions on the issue of the increased finances needed from domestic and external sources to support the expanded agenda (UNESCO, 2016).
Building on these themes this issue will cover a wide range of concerns and context spanning local, regional, national and global themes by authors from academia and various institutions: how are national plans aligning with implementing the priorities of the SDGs? Who is determining global indicators to measure the outcomes? And what does SDG4 really stand for?
- The New (SDG) Education Agenda: The UN, The OECD, and the European Commission
- SDGs and National Policies in Education
- Sustainable Development Cooperation, for Them or for Us?
- Non-State Actors, For-Profit and Non-Profit
- Literacy: No Longer a Priority for Basic Education - Leaving Millions Behind?
- TVET and the Global Education and Training Agenda
- A Dramatically Expanded Financing Focus?
- Will the SDG Indicators Determine the Character and Pattern of Implementation?
- NORRAG's News - 30 Years on (1986-2016)
- Call for SDG Chapter Proposals.
Selected articles from this issue have been translated into Arabic by the Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, and Chinese Mandarin by the Institute of International and Comparative Education at Zhejiang Normal University, China.