Resolution on: Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals

published 23 September 2019 updated 23 September 2019

The 8th Education International (EI) World Congress, meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, from 21st to 26th July 2019:

(1) Reaffirming that education, from early childhood education through higher education, is a fundamental human right and a public good, and that it is the primary obligation of states to realise this right and provide free quality public education;

(2) Welcoming the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by the United Nations and its member states and the Education 2030 Framework for Action by UNESCO and the education community in 2015;

(3) Noting the inclusion of Sustainable Development Goal 4 on quality education, its specific commitment to substantially increasing the supply of qualified teachers, and the emphasis on the importance of teachers for quality education in Agenda 2030, following intensive advocacy and lobbying by EI and member organisations;

(4) Stressing the interconnectedness and importance of all the SDGs, and highlighting SDG5 on gender equality, SDG8 on decent work, SDG10 on reducing inequality, SDG13 on combatting climate change, SDG16 on peaceful societies and SDG17 on means of implementation as particularly central to EI’s values and work;

(5) Underlining the importance of achieving SDG 4 as education is key to the achievement of all other Sustainable Development Goals, with education for sustainable development an enabler of transformative change;

(6) Concerned about the absence of a comprehensive financing framework for the SDGs and Education 2030 Agenda, and the large shortfall in education financing, particularly in low-income, lower-middle-income and conflict-affected countries;

(7) Cautioning against so-called “innovative” funding arrangements that may jeopardise education as a public good, heighten commercialisation and privatisation of education, undermine national sovereignty, subsidise profit-making activities within education, or contribute to increasing debt distress;

(8) Observing, with concern, the growing tendency to narrow broad educational curricula, and to define quality education through measurable learning outcomes and test scores alone, mainly focusing on numeracy and literacy;

(9) Concerned about the absence of a robust monitoring and review mechanism for the financing and implementation of the SDGs and Education 2030 at global, regional and national levels, particularly given that a lack of funding and accountability hindered progress towards the Education for All and Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015) which the global community failed to achieve;

(10) Concerned about the slow progress in the development and finalisation of the global, regional and thematic indicators for monitoring SDG4 and other SDGs;

(11) Concerned about the slow and uneven progress towards the realisation of the SDGs and Education 2030 agenda and the number of young people and adults who remain without access to quality education, particularly in conflict-affected countries;

(12) Reaffirming the critical role of governments in ensuring full implementation of the SDGs and Education 2030 Agenda;

(13) Acknowledging the contribution of intergovernmental organisations, donors and other education stakeholders, such as teachers’ organisations, towards the achievement of the right to free quality public education for all;

(14) Advocating for the full realisation of the SDGs, the Education 2030 Agenda and the right to inclusive, equitable, quality education for all children, youth and adults by 2030;

(15) The 8th World Congress:

(i) Calls on all governments to show leadership, honour their commitments, and take legislative, financing and other measures necessary to implement the SDGs as well as the Education 2030 Education Framework for Action, and ensure the right to free quality public education for all, including through allocating at least 6 % of GDP and 20 % of national expenditure to education;

(ii) Calls on all governments to urgently deliver on the commitment to substantially increase the global supply of qualified teachers by investing in quality pre- and in-service training, continuous professional development, decent working conditions and attractive salaries, and ensuring professional autonomy and the inclusion of teachers and their organisations in the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of education policy;

(iii) Urges the international community, in particular, the UN and relevant UN agencies, intergovernmental organisations and donors to ensure the right to free quality public education for all, including through the allocation of a larger proportion of official development assistance to education, paying particular attention to low-income and conflict-affected countries and to tax justice and domestic resource mobilisation initiatives, recognising that stable and progressive domestic financing is key to funding public education for all;

(iv) Urges member organisations to put pressure on their governments to demonstrate political will and implement in a timely manner the SDGs and strategies agreed in the Education 2030 Framework for Action;

(v) Urges member organisations to monitor and report on SDG progress on a regular basis, holding their governments to account in their national context and supporting EI in its role as a watchdog at the global level;

(vi) Encourages member organisations to be actively involved in the monitoring and implementation of SDG4.c on teachers and its indicative strategies, including through data collection, research, policy dialogue and advocacy;

(vii) Encourages member organisations to monitor the uses and misuses of learning assessments, in particular that of high stakes standardised assessments, ensuring that they are not used to narrow SDG 4 and the curriculum;

(viii) Encourages member organisations to urge governments to focus assessment policy on the design and administration, by teachers, of formative, diagnostic and classroom- based assessments with the results being used to improve teaching and learning for all students and not for high stakes accountability;

(ix) Urges member organisations to demand to be represented in national and regional level structures aimed at overseeing the financing and implementation of SDG4, and work to strengthen and expand social dialogue to include the implementation of SDG4;

(x) Encourages member organisations to identify key SDG-related issues and priorities in their jurisdictions and develop concrete plans and actions for them to be addressed;

(xi) Encourages member organisations to collaborate and network with other unions and likeminded organisations, including civil society, youth and student organisations that advocate for the achievement of quality public education for all and the implementation of SDG4 and other SDGs.

(16) The 8th World Congress mandates the Executive Board:

(i) To contribute to building further capacity of member organisations, including young and early stage teachers and ESP, to monitor and lobby for national implementation of SDG 4 - Education 2030 commitments by governments, including through organising workshops at regional and global levels;

(ii) To continue to provide tools and support for member organisations, teachers and education support personnel to engage in effective advocacy for the full realisation of the global sustainable development goals and in particular the education-related targets, and facilitate and coordinate action from EI member organisations as and when necessary;

(iii) To intensify advocacy for the full realisation of SDGs by 2030, sufficient and sustainable education financing in line with Education International’s Roadmap to Financing Education, and the provision of free quality public education for all with the relevant UN agencies, institutions, and fora (including UNESCO, ILO, UNICEF, UN Women, the High Level Political Forum, and the UN General Assembly), international organisations (including the World Bank and IMF), as well as other global or regional intergovernmental organisations;

(iv) To ensure that our priorities are met through relevant representation in fora anddecision-making processes related to the implementation, financing, monitoring, and evaluation of SDGs such as the Education 2030 Steering Committee, the Technical Coordination Group for SDG4 Indicators, and the Major Group of Workers and Trade Unions within the UN;

(v) To intensify EI’s participation and representation in regional SDG fora, such as those convened by UNESCO and the regional UN Commissions;

(vi) To advocate against the reduction of SDG4 to narrowly defined learning metrics in the formulation of indicators, the monitoring of progress and the decision of funding as well as policy priorities;

(vii) To continue building strategic alliances and partnerships with other Global Unions and likeminded organisations, including the Global Campaign for Education, and civil society, youth and student organisations that advocate for the achievement of quality public education for all and the implementation of the SDGs.