Education 2030 Framework for Action: let’s get started

FFAby Aaron Benavot and Manos Antoninis

The Education 2030 Framework for Action was adopted today in a high level meeting alongside the 38th UNESCO General Conference. What is this document and what does it mean for our work over the next fifteen years?

What is the Education 2030 Framework for Action?

This framework — painstakingly drafted over many months with input from governments, international agencies, civil society and experts — provides guidance for implementing the education commitments made in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at a national, regional and global level. In particular:

  • it aims at mobilizing all countries and partners around Sustainable Education Goal 4 and its targets;
  • it proposes ways of implementing, coordinating, financing and monitoring the new commitments; and
  • it proposes indicative strategies which countries may wish to draw upon in developing their plans, taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities.

The Education 2030 Framework for Action – Towards Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education and Lifelong Learning for All succeeds the Dakar Framework for Action – Education for All: Meeting our Collective Commitments, which guided international efforts between 2000 and 2015. While the text may not always manage to inspire, it deftly accommodates the interests of a multiplicity of constituencies involved in repeated layers of consultation. Indeed, it is an extremely valuable snapshot of international consensus on issues of education and development.

2015_report_coverIn the 2015 EFA Global Monitoring Report, we reflected on the impending new Framework for Action and asked:

  • how it could propose more effective mechanisms for global coordination and accountability than those envisaged in Dakar? and
  • how could the Dakar strategies be amended for greater success in the future?

These questions drew out five key lessons relevant for the signatories of today’s new Framework for Action. They represent the need to:

  1. Sustain political commitment: Formal coordination mechanisms were not always effective in the 2000s. But, in recent years, the UNESCO secretariat and the convening agencies have worked hard to reinvigorate this process. Countries will need to sustain these efforts with stronger representation that truly reflects regional interests in the proposed coordination mechanisms.
  1. Strengthen national policy and practice: The new agenda’s success will ultimately be judged at the country level. National plans will need to (i) better recognize relationships between levels of education and across sectors; (ii) address equity more directly; and (iii) elaborate measures to improve quality more clearly. The Framework for Action is very explicit on all three aspects.
  1. Effectively mobilize more financial resources: Compared with the famous pledge made in Dakar that “no countries seriously committed to Education for All will be thwarted in their achievement of this goal by a lack of resources”, the new Framework for Action is less bold in tone. Rather, it defers relevant actions until the conclusions of the International Commission on the Financing of Global Education Opportunities are submitted to the UN Secretary General in September 2016.
  1. Bring the monitoring and reporting of progress to a new level: The Framework for Action takes a bold step of including an annex with a proposed (though not endorsed) set of indicators for the new education targets. This offers a chance to reflect on how progress can and should be defined – something our Report will be looking at in 2016. It also provides an opportunity to reflect on institutional developments needed to address the many monitoring challenges at the national level.
  1. Link monitoring with action: Improving monitoring will not by itself bring about real progress in education. We need to enable countries to learn from each other and trigger action. Some governments may be reluctant to join such efforts since they may note that they are being asked to account for international commitments to which they are not legally bound.

That said, the Education 2030 Framework for Action boldly responds to the call of the UN Secretary-General for thematic reviews to chart global progress at regular intervals. For the GMR, the new document further solidifies our mandate for the next 15 years. Paragraph 101 specifically states:

[t]he EFA Global Monitoring Report will be continued in the form of the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report. … The GEM Report will be the mechanism for monitoring and reporting on SDG 4 and on education in the other SDGs, with due regard to the global mechanism to be established to monitor and review the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It will also report on the implementation of national and international strategies to help hold all relevant partners to account for their commitments as part of the overall SDG follow-up and review.

We are honored by the confidence of the international community in our work. We are determined to continue to earn this confidence in the coming years as an authoritative, high quality and editorially independent report monitoring the new education goal and targets.

Furthermore we welcome the emphasis of paragraph 103 on a “research and evaluation culture … to learn lessons from the implementation of strategies and policies and feed them back into actions”. In particular, that:

  • Countries commit to “evaluate the effect of their education policies on achieving the Education 2030 targets”; and
  • Convening agencies commit to “evaluating the effectiveness of their coordination mechanisms and the extent to which their programmes support countries in implementing Education 2030”.

These are solid foundations to help achieve an ambitious and transformative agenda in education.



  1. Thank you very much for sharing this important  recent document. I think it is very crucial for for the global citizens at large and specifically for those engaged in education at every echelons of the education system in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by the target year,2030. MulugetaFrom Ethiopia

  2. I greatly appreciate your mailing me an important document vis-a-vis Education and Development in the context of future sustainable development providing information on the critical needs of the hour. The publication rightly provides the need for focusing on lifelong education for which UNESCO has been striving through out.
    S.B. Ekanayake Ph.D
    CEO Association for Educational Research and Development in Sri Lanka (AERDSL)
    former Basic Educational Adviser UNESCO/UNHCR Afghanistan

  3. i appreciate this information and strategies highlighted for education quality improvement. Monitoring is important and necessary for achieving quality assurance, but I think monitoring alone or by itself, is not enough for promoting education quality and future sustainable development. If we want to ensure quality education that leads to sustainable development and life success for next future generation, we need to do more than one thing and each of us, whether you are a teacher or a parent, a leader or policy maker, a students or guardian, must be all get involved and committed to education reform.

    The key is to sustainable development is to ensure that from the time the child begins learning (formal or informal) training to the time one graduates or drops out of school..they have acquired a certain level of hard and soft skills for survival. So, in stead of designing school curriculum, programs, or courses focusing on reading, writing, mathematics or accounting, training at all levels of education must engage and relate to changes in the world or life experiences to make it meaningful for students. Traditionally, schools used to be seen as non-profit organizations because of their nature and interest in educating, empowering and equipping people with knowledge and skills.

    However, as the world changes, the focus is much more put on making money rather than quality of service and student learning outcomes. Increasing enrollment and getting more money is not bad, but the challenge of unemployment facing many young people graduating from colleges is worsening. out of 5 graduates 3 are jobless or underemployed. We cannot solve this problem by using the same curriculum, instructions or culture used 20 years ago. It is time to find better ways to reform education and equip young people with employable skills and abilities.

    In order, to secure and promote education quality, change is necessary. we need to monitor and evaluate education systems and learning environment and processes. Doing so, will not only promote education quality , but it will also help in increasing young people’s opportunities lifelong learning, social and economic sustainable development.
    Sr. Marie Nakitende Ph.D.

  4. I tremendously appreciate your new information about Education 2030 Framework for Action.The document shows the reality, life long learning process that doesn’t advocate the about formal education only but it has great emphasis in informal education as well to meet the objectives.Really the document available here is very crucial to us and will help to guide many educationist,lecturer,teacher and right activists as well.Thank you very much for such an important documents and update.
    Keshab Singh Air
    Child Rights Officer(CRO),
    District Child Welfare Board(DCWB),Baitadi,Nepal

  5. Let me commence by quoting Marie ‘ It is time to find better ways to reform education and equip young people with employable skills and abilities’ . This is really the need of the day. We educate but for what? For how long is yet another question. On the other hand, however much we educate the child keeping them in school for almost 13 years what do most of them get or benefit if they have to get back to the field and mange life in the traditional way. Hence why Marie desires reforms or what we could call – ‘refolutionery’ changes and reforms. Some of the changes suggested are as follows

    The duration of the school universally is determined by someone for a specific period 12/13 years and primary to 5 years or so.Why not develop a curriculum and TT for a shorter period of duration which could be 4 years of primary and 5 year of secondary saving 3 to 4 years of wasting the time of the majority of children in the developing countries. Parents require them at the field sooner for them to be helpers,. A condensed curriculum would be equally strong to the task if the correct methodologies are followed. If more practical approaches are adopted to teach, which the children would be very happy (following Paulo Freire’s pedagogical principles) This approach will save time, funds and be more realistic avoiding frustrations. Obviously we waste more money and time to bring about a few to succeed at the end of the day. No doubt the humanity needs the services of the brilliant but one should sacrifice the greater majority. Hence new strategies have to be identified.

    UNESCO has been promoting NFE and LLE as an option to teaching and learning and has spent time and funds to highlight the value of these options all over the world. These are highlighted in this volume as well. Hope the member countries would use these approaches to bring about quality learning, practically useful and avoiding frustrations amongst millions of children leading to achieve EFA goals with in the stipulated period.
    S.B. Ekanayake Ph.D

    1. I second your thoughts and suggestions. This is the desired needs of the third world, that the children must learn and fast learn the education and skills of survival in the country like Pakistan. This will help in improving livelihoods, and support their families.

      UNESCO or UNICEF or any other UN agency may need to start pilot projects, and study the results for replication and improvement.

  6. I am desck officer EFA at Yobe state universal education commission Nigeria.I want use this medium to inform you that EFA program has stopped in recent years due to insurgency.But now things are getting better it is right time to continues with our programs. pls I need your reply. Thanks. Muhammad Suleiman.

  7. The Education2030 Framework for Action provides a robust Template that will challenge Countries to put in place action plans,fast track effective implementation,put key performance indicators(KPI) in place to measure progress at every stage,and to know if you are really on track.
    In Nigeria we need to sustain political commitment on the part of successive Government to honour all legally binding agreement signed between the International Development Partners and the host Government so as to ensure continuity
    Secondly, the aspect of quality assurance need to be strengthened to ensure a package delivery that meets up with internationally accepted best practices/standard, to ensure money for value audit.
    Thirdly,we must think outside the box to look for alternative ways of funding to augment Government budgetary provisions
    All stakeholders involved must develop a generic model that will throw up new set of indicators to evaluate both the qualitative and the quantitative outcome and output of the Action plan

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