The Global Targeting of Education and Skill: Policy History and Comparative Perspectives
By Kenneth King
After countless meetings, debates and advocacy, there is now a final version of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including the SDG 4 on Education, that was confirmed at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York on the 25th September 2015. Global target setting is still a relatively young art and there is much to be learnt from its short history about the ownership of the process, the roles of developed and developing economies and the actual status of global targets over and against national and regional plans. The policy history of global goals and targets is arguably inseparable from that of global and regional education commissions and from universal declarations and conventions. But the very process of targetisation elevates targets over text. Equally, the requirement to ‘go global’ and to be ‘universal’ raises the bar far beyond what is feasible for many developing countries. The Education SDG 4 is just a small part of a much larger UN development ambition. It may be essential, therefore, to be aware of what is also being proposed for education in the SDGs relating to decent work, health, and climate change, not to mention the proposed financing of the SDG aspirations and the plans for their compliance and governance.
Prof. Kenneth King is the Editor of NORRAG News and one of the founders of NORRAG. He is an Emeritus Professor at the School of Social and Political Studies within University of Edinburgh in Scotland, United Kingdom.