Global Issues & ODA

International Trends Regarding the Sector

August 11, 2020


There are still 64 million children of school age who are not attending school. Moreover, there are still approximately 750 million adults who do not have basic literacy.
(Source: UNESCO "Global Education Monitoring Report 2019Open a new window)

Education can play an important role in national and regional economic development, and it also paves the way for enabling all individuals to fully develop their own talents and abilities, and live with dignity. It is the foundation for achieving the human security that Japan is promoting. In the "2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development" adopted at the United Nations Summit in September 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) addressed the education sector in Goal 4 (Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all). Education is an essential element for achieving all of the SDGs, and the international community is strengthening its efforts toward developing it.

Major International Conferences

(1) World Conference on Education for All (1990)

In March 1990, the "World Conference on Education for All" was held in Jomtien, Thailand. With "EFA: Education for All" as the slogan, an international consensus was formed to the effect that providing basic education to everyone is a universal goal. Basic education is defined as "educational activities to acquire knowledge and skills people need to live." Specifically, it includes pre-school education, primary education, early secondary education, and non-formal education (adult education, literacy education, etc.).

(2) World Education Forum (2000)

At the World Education Forum held in April 2000 in Dakar, Senegal, it was reported that although efforts toward education for all (EFA) in the 1990s had achieved certain results, there were still many children who could not go to school and adults who lacked adequate everyday literacy and numeracy. The "EFA Dakar Goals" were adopted in response to this, with the aim of achieving them by 2015.

"EFA Dakar Goals" (EFA Dakar Framework for Action) (Summary)
(1) Expanding and improving early childhood care and education
(2) Ensuring that all children have access to and complete free and compulsory primary education of good quality
(3) Ensuring that the learning needs of all young people and adults are met
(4) Achieving a 50 percent improvement in levels of adult literacy, especially for women
(5) Achieving gender equality in education
(6) Improving every aspect of the quality of education

(3) Millennium Development Goals (2000)

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were compiled on the occasion of the Millennium Declaration adopted at the Millennium Summit in September 2000. Of the eight goals, two also included the "EFA Dakar Goals" (achieving universal primary education; and promoting gender equality and improving the status of women [eliminating gender disparities in education]).

(4) World Education Forum 2015 (2015)

The "World Education Forum 2015" was held in Incheon, South Korea in May 2015. It saw the adoption of the "Incheon Declaration," which summarized the political commitments in the education sector to be achieved by 2030.

(5) Sustainable Development Goals (2015)

The "2030 Agenda for Sustainable DevelopmentOpen a new window" was adopted at the UN Summit in September 2015. It contained the "Sustainable Development Goals." Goal 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals set out the goals for the education sector (Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all).

"Sustainable Development Goals: Goal 4" (Summary)
(1) By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and Goal-4 effective learning outcomes
(2) By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and preprimary education so that they are ready for primary education
(3) By 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university
(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
(5) By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations
(6) By 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy
(7) By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development

(6) Education 2030 High-Level Meeting (2015)

Held in November 2015 in Paris in conjunction with the UNESCO General Meeting, the "Education 2030 High-Level Meeting" saw the adoption of the "Education 2030 Framework for Action." The aim of the framework was steady implementation of SDG 4 on the global, regional, and national levels. Up to then, the international community had been working toward achieving EFA. However, it was decided at the meeting that from then on, efforts would be directed toward achieving SDG 4 based on the Education 2030 Framework for Action. The SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee was established in 2016 with UNESCO as its secretariat. A representative from Japan is also among its members.

(7) Global Education 2030 Meeting (2018)

UNESCO held the Global Education 2030 Meeting in Brussels in December 2018 to review the progress on SDG 4 and the other relevant SDGs since the adoption of the Incheon Declaration at the World Education Forum in 2015 and the deciding of the Education 2030 Framework for Action. The meeting discussed progress and challenges to date regarding implementation of the goals and commitments regarding the "SDG-Education 2030 Agenda," and strategic input on education in the run-up to the 2019 SDGs High-Level Political Forum (HLPF). Approximately 340 government representatives—including around 20 ministers—and international organizations, NGOs, etc. from more than 60 countries participated.

Major International Movements

(1) UNESCO as the Leading Agency for SDG4-Education 2030

UNESCO has been publishing Global Monitoring Reports (GMRs) that summarize the progress toward achieving the EFA Dakar Goals (Japanese version [summary]Open a new window also available since 2007), and hosting ministerial meetings aimed at reviewing the situation and maintaining the political momentum. In order to ensure steady implementation of SDG4-Education 2030, UNESCO has been working actively as the leading agency for it since 2016, in which capacity it publishes "Global Education Monitoring Reports (GEMs)"Open a new window.

(2) Global Partnership for Education (GPE)

The Global Partnership for Education (GPE)Open a new window (formerly called the Fast Track Initiative) was established in April 2002 under the leadership of the World Bank as an international partnership with the aim of "achieving universal primary education by 2015," one of the education-related MDGs. Carried out based on recommendations made by the G8 Education Task Force formed after the G8 Genoa Summit in 2001, the establishment of the GPE is also regarded as a step toward embodying the 2002 Monterrey Agreement, in which it was decided that donors would also provide additional assistance to support developing countries' policy-making and other reform efforts toward achieving the MDGs. Prompted by the adoption of the "2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development" at the UN Summit in September 2015, the GPE's board of directors adopted the "New Strategic Plan 2016-2020" in December 2015, in order to contribute toward achieving SDG 4 while focusing on the basic education sector. A financing conference was held in Dakar, Senegal, in February 2018. It was co-hosted by President Sall of the Republic of Senegal and President Macron of France. In addition to the two presidents, the conference was attended by over 100 other leaders and ministers, and more than 1,000 government officials, international organizations, private companies and foundations, and members of civic society. Pledges totaling $2.3 billion were announced.

(3) Assistance for Education in Emergencies: Education Cannot Wait Fund

This fund was established at the World Humanitarian Summit held by the UN in Istanbul in May 2016. Its objective is to provide assistance toward delivering education to children and youth in emergency situations such as conflicts and natural disasters.

(4) Efforts at the G7 and G20

The G7 Education Ministers' Meeting chaired by Japan in 2016 saw the announcement of the Kurashiki DeclarationOpen a new window .

The G7 Taormina Progress Report summarizing the progress on the G7's work in the education sector was announced in the 2017 meeting chaired by Italy.

At the 2018 G7 Charlevoix SummitOpen a new window chaired by Canada, the "Charlevoix Declaration on the Promotion of Quality Education for Girls, Adolescent Girls and Women in Developing Countries" was issued, and Japan announced its commitment to contribute $200 million toward the development of human resources and quality education for girls, adolescent girls, and women in developing countries. At the G20 Osaka SummitOpen a new window held in June 2019 and chaired by Japan, the "G20 Human Capital Investment Initiative for Sustainable Development"Open a new window was announced as an annex to the Leaders' Declaration, with the focus on the education sector. The Initiative had been discussed and agreed on by the G20 Development Working Group. As independent action, Japan announced its "Education x Innovation" initiative, through which it would provide education for innovation and education through innovation to at least 9 million children and youth over the three years from 2019 to 2021. The G7 Development and Education Ministers Meeting chaired by France in July discussed technical and vocational education and training (TVET), women's education, and the situation regarding education in the Sahel region.

Back to Global Issues & ODA