Grading Goal Four

Tensions, Threats, and Opportunities in the Sustainable Development Goal on Quality Education

For the third time in three decades world leaders reaffirmed their promise of "Education For All" when adopting Sustainable Development Goal 4 in 2015. It is the most far-reaching commitment to quality and equity in education so far, yet, there is no consensus on what the agenda means in practice.

With a decade left until the 2030 deadline, Grading Goal Four calls upon the education community to engage more thoughtfully and critically with SDG 4 and related efforts. As an ever-growing number of actors and initiatives claim to contribute to its achievement, it is becoming clear that the ambitious but broad priorities within the goal are vulnerable to cherry-picking and misrepresentation, placing it at the heart of tensions between instrumentalist and rights-based approaches to education. This text, a critical analysis of SDG 4, provides a framework for examining trends and developments in education globally.

As the first volume that examines early implementation efforts under SDG 4, Grading Goal Four formulates a critique along with strategies for moving forward. By scrutinising the challenges, tensions and power dynamics shaping SDG 4, it advances rights-based perspectives and strategies for effective implementation and builds capacity for strengthened monitoring and analysis of the goal.
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  • Chapter 1 Introduction
  • Chapter 2 The Twists and Turns in Negotiating a Global Education Goal
  • Chapter 3 Gender Equality, Education, and Development
  • Chapter 4 Quality Education for All? The Promises and Limitations of the SDG Framework for Inclusive Education and Students with Disabilities
  • Chapter 5 A Critical Exploration of How Language-of-Instruction Choices Affect Educational Equity
  • Chapter 6 Universities, the Public Good, and the SDG 4 Vision
  • Chapter 7 Education for All Open for Business? Public Goods vs. Private Profits
  • Chapter 8 Financing SDG 4
  • Chapter 9 SDG 4 and the ‘Education Quality Turn’
  • Chapter 10 Teachers Are More Than ‘Supply’
  • Chapter 11 Reshaping Quality and Equity
  • Chapter 12 Learning Assessments in the Time of SDGs
  • Chapter 13 Can Education Transform Our World? Global Citizenship Education and the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
  • Chapter 14 Will Education Post-2015 Move Us toward Environmental Sustainability?
  • Chapter 15 Targets, TVET and Transformation
  • Chapter 16 Between Tokenism and Inclusion
  • Chapter 17 The Right to Education and SDG 4
Antonia Wulff is a Coordinator at Education International and led EI’s advocacy in the negotiations on the SDGs. She is a board member of the Global Campaign for Education and has a background in the European student movement.
"Even in these troubling times, the Sustainable Development Goal for education will be the guide for education policy around the world between now and 2030. Grading Goal Four is a tour de force, critically examining the past and future of SDG4. Antonia Wullf has gathered a brilliant array of scholars and activists who put the right to education at the forefront in understanding the challenges, tensions, and possibilities SDG4 offers. This is must reading for anyone concerned with education today!" - Steven Klees, Professor of International Education Policy, University of Maryland, and Former President, Comparative and International Education Society

Preliminary Remarks and Acknowledgments

List of Tables


Table of Cases

Notes on Contributors

Introduction to the Commentary

part 1
The Charter System
1 The Drafting of the 1961 European Social Charter
  Anna Panarella

2 The Reform of the European Social Charter
  Stefano Angeleri and Róisín Dunbar

3 Perspectives on the Evolution of the European Social Charter System
  Victor Guset

4 The General Structure of the European Social Charter
  Barbara Kresal

part 2
European and National Guarantees Regarding the Application of the Charter
5 The Follow-Up to the Decisions of the European Committee of Social Rights
  Benoît Petit

6 The Implementation of the European Social Charter by National Authorities
  Giovanni Cavaggion

7 The European Social Charter’s Applicability by National Courts
  Manuel Fontaine Campos, Catarina Santos Botelho and Bruno Mestre

part 3
The Spirit of the Charter
8 The European Social Charter and the Theory of Human Rights Law
  Marta-Claudia Cliza, Carole Nivard, Laura-Cristiana Spătaru-Negură

9 The Methods for Interpreting the European Social Charter
  Csilla Kollonay-Lehoczky

10 The Values Underlying the European Social Charter
  Bige Açımuz and Olgun Akbulut

11 Economic Policies and the European Social Charter
  Berrin Ceylan Ataman and Gözde Atasayan

12 The Protection of Vulnerable People in the Charter System
  Katarzyna Dunaj and Joanna Ryszka

part 4
The European Social Charter and Other Sources of International and European Human Rights Law
13 The European Social Charter and the European Convention on Human Rights
  Christina Deliyanni-Dimitrakou

14 The European Social Charter and the European Union
  Marco Rocca

15 The European Social Charter and the Standards of the International Labour Organization
  E. Murat Engin and Gaye Burcu Yıldız

16 The European Social Charter and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  Effrosyni Bakirtzi

Selected Bibliography
All interested in the threats and opportunities within SDG 4 on quality education, including researchers, students and education activists in academia, civil society, government policy-making and international educational diplomacy.
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