Statement: The importance of recognising education in the political declaration of the High Level Political Forum

Today the Send My Friend to School coalition released the following statement:

UK based non-government organisations and teachers’ unions working on education globally are concerned that the zero draft of the political declaration of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) does not mention education. Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) – the global goal on quality education for all – is one of six goals under review at the HLPF. Whilst we recognise that the political declaration is not intended to focus on individual goals, we do believe it is important to mention education alongside the other commitments we have made between now and 2030. 

Education is every child’s fundamental right and is a critical stepping stone for development and prosperity for individuals and the world.  Without it, we have no hope of eradicating poverty or reaching the other Sustainable Development Goals.

Ensuring commitment to education at the highest political levels is also all the more necessary given how off-track we are to achieve SDG4. 

262 million children and young people remain out of school, and after a decade of progress, the number of primary aged children not in school is going up, not down.  Those that are in school are often not learning anything. A staggering two-thirds of primary aged school children that are in school will not achieve minimum proficiency levels in reading.  The most deprived and marginalised children – those that face multiple, compounding and intersecting disadvantages such as poverty, gender and disability – are faring the worst.

The HLPF offers a galvanising moment for progress towards the 2030 agenda.  We therefore urge inclusion of education in point 6 of the political declaration, recognising the world’s resolve to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all between now and 2030.  We recommend that point 6 now reads:

“We resolve, between now and 2030, to end poverty and hunger everywhere; to combat inequalities within and among countries; to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies; to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all;…”

In 2019, Send My Friend to School is campaigning to unlock education for everyone and the HLPF is a critical moment in achieving this. Find out more about our 2019 campaign here.