Two years down, 13 to go – Checking in on our progress towards the SDGs

Linkedin_Hero_#ACT4SDGsToday, September 25th 2017, marks two years since the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted. This momentous anniversary is an occasion for us all to make sure the SDGs remain high on the global agenda. It’s also a chance to join the UN SDG campaign in their Global Day of Action, which appeals to civil society, volunteers and citizens (#Act4SDGs).

Mountain editOne of the key elements of this campaign is to check our progress towards the SDG goals. So, how far are we from achieving SDG 4?

In last year’s Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report) we warned that, if current trends continue, we’re not likely to see universal primary education by 2030 in many countries, let alone universal lower or upper secondary education. Lower middle income countries aren’t expected to hit this target until 2054, and low income countries are a staggering 58 years behind schedule: in those countries, universal primary education isn’t expected until 2088. Some countries won’t see universal primary completion until the end of the century.

Of course, universal enrolment at lower and upper secondary is a key part of the SDG4 target as well. Under the scenario that past growth rates will continue, universal lower secondary completion would be achieved in 2059, and universal upper secondary completion only in 2084.

The message is clear: we must act, and we must act now. #Act4SDGs !

A first course of action would be to target our actions towards those most in need. As our WIDE database shows us, these out-of-school children are most frequently the most disadvantaged – poor girls in sub-Saharan Africa and in Southern Asia, poor boys in Latin America and the Caribbean and in East Asia, the poorest, ethnic minority groups, and those in rural areas. In the 2016 Gender Review, we noted that there were only 10 of 90 low and middle income countries where 20- to 24-year-olds attained, on average, at least 12 years of education. In many countries in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, including Afghanistan, Benin, Chad, Ethiopia, Guinea, Pakistan and South Sudan, the poorest young women attained less than a year of schooling, compared to about two years or more for the poorest young men.

It’s not enough to say that this is a problem for governments to solve; we all have a role to play in improving these outcomes. The 2017/8 GEM Report, which will be released in a month’s time, explores the topic of accountability in education and concludes that every single one of us, from students to parents, from civil society members to teachers, has a role to play in ensuring equitable quality education for all. The responsibility of international organizations is also very high.

So why is the GEM Report joining a campaign that’s about all of the SDGs, not just SDG4? Put simply, it’s because achieving one goal can help achieve many others. One of the ambitions of the SDGs is to break down the “silo” mentality when it comes to different dimensions of sustainable development, and to reinforce the fact that all of the SDGs are interconnected; progress in meeting one SDG has beneficial flow-on effects for progress in meeting more SDGs. The 2016 GEM Report found that, if we could achieve universal secondary schooling by 2030, we could see a reduction in deaths of children under-5 from 68 per 1,000 live births to 54 in the same period and to 44 by 2050. Education also has a significant effect on economic development and poverty reduction: educating all adults to secondary level would cut global poverty by more than half. We stand by the statement that any step that we take in moving towards any one of our SDGs is a step we take in moving towards all of them.

Raise your voice and make sure everyone knows how important the SDGs are to improve the state of our planet. You can tweet using the #Act4SDGs hashtag, register for the Global Day of Action, and join the Thunderclap campaign to raise awareness on social media. You can also use the resources on the SDG Action Campaign website to plan an event or lead a campaign in your local community. There are also numerous campaigns and fundraisers happening in communities around the world: the Do It In A Dress campaign encourages people to raise money by undertaking an activity wearing a school dress and aims to help provide education to some of the 60 million girls around the world who aren’t in school.

The GEM Report team is proud to add our voice to the Global Day of Action, and to remind leaders that the SDGs are a critical global priority.

Join the #Act4SDGs campaign and share the infographics below

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  1. ‘Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children’ Mr. Walt Disney quotes. This famous quote beautifully ignites our thought process to understand the importance of well nurtured minds in development. As included in UNs Sustainable Development Goals, obtaining a quality education is the foundation to improving people’s lives and sustainable development. The Society for Door Step Schools (DSS) believes in this vision and has been working on it since its inception in 1988-89 when it was founded in Mumbai, India by Mrs. Rajani Paranjpe and her ex-student Mrs. Bina Lashkari and expanded to Pune, India in 1993. It has been working with the aim of addressing illiteracy among the marginalized sections of society; by bringing education to the “Door Step” of these underprivileged children.

    Pune, a city with ample of job opportunities is considered as Oxford of the East due to its quality of education. Even in this educational hub of India, education of underprivileged children possesses a challenge. Only a small percentage of the children of migrant laborers attend school, the rest remain out of school because of various reasons – they need to stay at home to take care of the younger siblings, or schools are inaccessible or simply they can’t cope up with schools having stayed out of school for prolonged time. For addressing this issue DSS came up with an initiative called Every Child Counts – A Citizens’ Campaign (ECC).
    The ECC model has unique methodology to identify out-of-school children and enroll them to school.
    In the first stage, mapping of the area is done, after mapping a systematic survey is conducted of each and every street in the city to cover Housing and road Construction sites, to identify temporary settlements, semi-permanent settlements to determine the presence of labor camps and children who are in the 6-7-year age group. Considering the vast population, ECC had a way out to include citizens in process. Involving citizens helped in reaching out to masses within less time. Citizen would survey the locality, identify out of school children between the age of 6 and 10, and collect the details. Given that the citizen volunteers had minimal experience in such surveys, the DSS teams help and monitor the survey. The next step is to map each site to the nearest school based on the list of schools, map location of the school obtained from school authorities. Once children are located, parents are approached and counseled on the importance of education, informed of the nearest school and the process of getting the children enrolled into schools. Wherever children and parents have no exposure to the concept of schooling, the team starts “Preparatory camps” for the children. A temporary classroom is setup in a tent or a room provided by builders and children are introduced to the idea of schooling and learning. The children are taught basic hygiene and get used to sitting for a longer period, say their names, a few important phrases in the local language, making it easier for them to adjust in a bigger school with many children.
    In second stage, Enrollment and support: Sites with children identified during the survey phase are revisited before the start of the enrollment period and parents encouraged to visit the schools by themselves to enroll their children. A simple identity card called “My Card”, carrying details of the children and the name of the school is given to the parents to help them provide the required details to the school.
    In third stage Follow up: During this stage the campaign team with the help of volunteers monitors the progress of children by visiting sites and schools. Parents are educated on their role in getting involved in parent meetings and schooling. Other barriers to children attending school regularly such as lack of parental awareness, particularly among migrant parents, lack of safe transportation to school and school attitudes towards migrant children are addressed.
    As a result of structured efforts across programs in DSS, we can see that in 2012-13, 4270 children were identified and out of that 1757 (41.14%) children were enrolled to schools in Pune. This number increases significantly over the period and in last year i.e. 2016-2017 total 7185 children were identified, out of which 4221 (58.75%) children were enrolled to school. Since 2012-13, ECC has identified 30000+ out-of-school children and enrolled 16000+ children into mainstream schools in and around Pune city. The program is still continuing and has already enrolled 1500+ children in the current year. The same model is successfully implemented in IT Hub of India Bangalore with great results. Success of this model in city like Pune is a good example of high potential held by the model. ECC is contributing continuously towards UN’s goal and wish this model could be an inspiration for many like-minded people.

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