Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning

Obtaining a quality education underpins a range of fundamental development drivers. Major progress has been made towards increasing access to education at all levels, particularly for women and girls. Basic literacy skills across the world have improved tremendously, yet bolder efforts are needed to achieve universal education goals for all. For example, the world has achieved equality in primary education between girls and boys, but few countries have achieved that target at all levels of education.

The charts and visuals below provide data on the major developments in global education in relation to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets. Further information on education and learning can be found across a range of entries on our publication including the Global Rise of Education; Pre-Primary; Primary and Secondary; Tertiary; and Literacy.

Target 4.1

By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes.

A pre-requisite for assessing whether children achieve relevant and expected learning outcomes is the existence of nationally representative learning assessments. The chart below shows whether each country has a nationally representative learning assessment at the end of primary education.

The charts below show the share of students in early education (grades 2 or 3), at the end of primary, and the end of lower secondary education who achieve at least a minimum proficiency in reading, and mathematics.

Target 4.2

By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education.

Proportion of children under 5 years of age who are developmentally on track in health, learning and psychosocial well-being

The chart below shows the share of children under 5 years old who are defined as developmentally on track in at least three of the following four domains: literacy-numeracy, physical, socio-emotional and learning.

Participation rate in organized learning (one year before the official primary entry age)

The charts below show the share of children of pre-primary age who are enroled in pre-primary education. This is given as the total across both sexes, with a further comparison of enrolment rates between boys and girls.

Target 4.4

By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship.

The charts below show the share of youths and adults (over 15 years of age) with information and communications technology (ICT) skills (here defined based on the skills of creating electronic presentations), as a total share of the population and by sex.

Target 4.5

By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training.

The world has made significant progress in closing gender gaps in access to primary education in particular in recent decades. However, disparities remain, especially towards secondary and tertiary education. Closing these disparities in education access and attainment underpins a range of development drivers.

The charts below provide a global overview of gender disparities across enrollment, school life expectancy and completion rates.

Target 4.6

By 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy.

The charts below show the share of the population who can both read and write with understanding of a short statement on their everyday life. In most cases 'literacy' also includes 'numeracy', which is the ability to make simple arithmetic calculations.

Target 4.b

By 2020, substantially expand globally the number of scholarships available to developing countries for enrollment in higher education, including vocational training.

Closing global inequities in educational access and attainment will require significant investment in public services, but also in financial support to learners who would otherwise be unable to stay in formal education or vocational training. The chart below shows the levels of financial support and development assistance provided for education and training scholarships.

Further data and visuals on investment and financial support for education is available at our entry on Financing Education.

Target 4.c

By 2030, substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers.

Ensuring children, adolescents, and increasingly adults within further education receive equal and affordable opportunities for schooling is a vital first step in educational attainment. However, making sure learners receive high-quality education is also fundamental. This begins with ensuring teachers are sufficiently trained and qualified.

The charts below provide available data on the shares of teachers across educational levels who are sufficiently qualified. You can find more data on these trends in our entry on Teachers and Professors.