Save the Date (and the Data!): Stay Tuned for the SDG 4 Data Digest 2018

If you want to view the most complete data landscape on learning outcomes, the SDG 4 Data Digest 2018 is your go-to source. With launch events planned next week at the Global Education Meeting in Brussels (3-5 December 2018) and at the Global Partnership for Education Board Meeting in Dublin (6-7 December 2018), the Digest will report on the quest for data to track lifelong learning.

The Digest’s focus on learning outcomes is timely, given the world’s current learning crisis, with far too many children who have made their way through school emerging without the basic skills they need for a productive and prosperous adulthood. As the Digest will stress, there are still many millions of children who miss out on schooling completely. Yet the vast majority of children who cannot, read, write or handle a basic math calculation are actually in school.

Learning is at the heart of the SDGs

This year’s theme is essential, given the critical importance of learning for the achievement of all Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Every goal relies on the achievement of SDG 4, which demands an inclusive and equitable quality education and the promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all. Learning is essential to end poverty, ensure prosperous and fulfilling lives in harmony with nature, and to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies.

As the Digest shows, however, learning outcomes have been static for years, so we can’t simply hope that all children will stay in school and grasp these basic skills before the 2030 deadline for SDG 4. We must also understand the scale and nature of the global learning crisis and address the shortcomings of the education currently on offer.

Because learning is a lifelong process, we must also look at what happens before and after the school years. That means scrutinising the early learning that prepares children for school and the adult learning that ensures that people have the skills they need for work and for life in the 21st century.

The Digest showcases the most comprehensive and up-to-date compilation of work to inform the learning indicators of SDG 4. It discusses learning evidence on early childhood development, mathematics and reading skills among school-aged children, as well as digital and work-related skills and literacy among youth and adults.

Experts across the learning landscape

It highlights the conceptual frameworks and tools developed by leading authors and institutions, including GPE, to understand, measure, monitor and support learning for all. And it reinforces arguments for greater investment in the human capacity that is critical for the effective gathering, analysis and – above all –use of data to drive lasting and positive improvements in learning outcomes. In each case, the Digest features contributions by experts from across the learning landscape, all of whom are taking a lead in the most promising or proven initiatives, from cross-national to country-level approaches, and discusses the implications of their work for SDG 4 monitoring.

 So save the date in your calendars – 3 December! This will be the go-to report on how countries, donors, technical partners and civil society groups can collect and make the best possible of use data to nurture lifelong learning.

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