Session Submission Summary

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The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): What progress for education a year and a half later?

Wed, March 8, 9:45 to 11:15am, Sheraton Atlanta, Grand Ballroom B (South Tower)

Session Submission Type: Group Panel

Description of Session

This panel, co-organised by NORRAG and UNESCO, interrogates what has happened in the past year and more to the global ambitions and aspirations of the SDGs affirmed by the UN General Assembly in September 2015. This will be examined through the lens of the SDG 4 on education. The particular cases of India and South Africa are used in the panel to tease out the problem of how the national or continental architecture for planning and development has been able to align with the global goals and targets of Agenda 2030. At the same time, attention is paid in the panel to teasing out how the newly created global architecture for reporting upon and monitoring the education goal and its targets is aligned in practice with on-going national and regional planning cycles.

Arguably, there is a tension between the inevitable generality of the global education goal and its targets, on the one hand, and the sheer specificity of national plans and local contexts, on the other

There is a further tension between the hugely inclusive process of actually agreeing the final text of the Education goal and its targets and the much more technical negotiations for agreeing the global indicators which will be used for reporting upon and monitoring the goal and its targets.

A red thread running through the panel presentations is educational inequality. There will be attention to the history which established the actual text of SDG 4 with its strong emphasis on certain central concepts: that education should be free, equitable, of good quality, and lifelong.

But equally there will be serious attention given to what gets lost in translation when these core concepts have been translated into global indicators over the past year.

As a group, this set of panel papers constitute a crucially important aspect of the policy history of the SDG 4 on education.

But they will also be able to illustrate what happens to global goals as they get aligned with national processes, in India and South Africa.

Finally, the papers expect to be able to illustrate what happens to the key concepts of educational equality and inequality both in the global discourse of goals and targets, and in the local policies and politics of India and South Africa.

The panel will deliberately seek to engage with whatever audience is present, in order to broaden the comparative discussion beyond India and South Africa.

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