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.
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
List of Abbreviations
List of Figures and Tables
Notes on Contributors
1 Introduction: Bringing out the Tensions, Challenges, and Opportunities within Sustainable Development Goal 4
Antonia Wulff 2 The Twists and Turns in Negotiating a Global Education Goal: A Civil Society Perspective
Antonia Wulff 3 Gender Equality, Education, and Development: Tensions between Global, National, and Local Policy Discourses in Postcolonial Contexts
Naureen Durrani and Anjum Halai 4 Quality Education for All? The Promises and Limitations of the SDG Framework for Inclusive Education and Students with Disabilities
Christopher J. Johnstone, Matthew J. Schuelka and Ghada Swadek 5 A Critical Exploration of How Language-of-Instruction Choices Affect Educational Equity
Lizzi O. Milligan, Zubeida Desai and Carol Benson 6 Universities, the Public Good, and the SDG 4 Vision
Stephanie Allais, Colleen Howell, Palesa Molebatsi, Lerato Posholi and Elaine Unterhalter 7 Education for All Open for Business? Public Goods vs. Private Profits
Alexandra Draxler 8 Financing SDG 4: Context, Challenges, and Solutions
David Archer and Tanvir Muntasim 9 SDG 4 and the ‘Education Quality Turn’: Prospects, Possibilities, and Problems
Yusuf Sayed and Kate Moriarty 10 Teachers Are More Than ‘Supply’: Toward Meaningful Measurement of Pedagogy and Teachers in SDG 4
Stephanie Bengtsson, Mamusu Kamanda, Jo Ailwood and Bilal Barakat 11 Reshaping Quality and Equity: Global Learning Metrics as a Ready-Made Solution to a Manufactured Crisis
Aaron Benavot and William C. Smith 12 Learning Assessments in the Time of SDGs: New Actors and Evolving Alliances in the Construction of a Global Field
Clara Fontdevila 13 Can Education Transform Our World? Global Citizenship Education and the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
Joel Westheimer 14 Will Education Post-2015 Move Us toward Environmental Sustainability?
Hiraku Komatsu, Jeremy Rappleye and Iveta Silova 15 Reflections on Targets and TVET
Stephanie Allais and Volker Wedekind 16 Between Tokenism and Inclusion: The Student Movement in the Post-2015 Process
Luke Shore and Viktor Grønne 17 The Right to Education and SDG 4: Lessons from the Field and Next Steps for Civil Society Monitoring
Allyson Krupar and Anjela Taneja
APPENDIX 1: SDG 4 Targets
Antonia Wulff APPENDIX 2: SDG 4 Targets and Indicators
Antonia Wulff References
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.