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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