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By Rachel Serebrenik, GCE-US Public Policy Fellow, July 30th, 2019.

This blog was originally posted on the GCE-US Action Blog here.

On Friday, July 12th, the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), Light for the World, RESULTS and GCE-US convened a special day-long event, Unifying the Playing Field: Local and Global Movements to Advance the Right to Education. This special side event for the High Level Political Forum (HLPF), convened by the United Nations, took a closer look at the various efforts and challenges in achieving Sustainable Development Goal Four (SDG4), the right to inclusive and equitable quality education for all. The day was filled with rich discussion on collaborative advocacy efforts around the right to quality, inclusive education undertaken by local civil society organizations, national education coalitions, and international organizations.

Since its adoption in 2016, significant progress on achieving SDG4 has been made. Enrollment in primary education in developing countries has reached 91 percent. However, 57 million primary age children remain out of school, with more than half of these children living in sub-Saharan Africa and 50 percent living in conflict-affected areas. An astonishing 617 million youth worldwide lack basic mathematic and literacy skills. We have a long way to go in ensuring that all girls and boys receive free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to effective learning outcomes by 2030. As such, organizers of Unifying the Playing Field convened this meeting with the aim of unifying strategies across advocates, policymakers and movements.

We had the opportunity to hear from experts in the fields of inclusive education and early childhood development for children with disabilities, the Right to Education Index, Voluntary National Reviews of education in a variety of countries, and building stronger education systems to resist the threat of privatization. Each session tackled a unique perspective on the push for SDG4. Yet, principles of inclusion, quality, and equity were common priorities across the remarks of panelists and audience members alike. With challenging questions and insightful comments from participants, we were able to engage in a meaningful discussion throughout the day.

At the end of the day, we asked participants how they will commit to helping with world realize SDG4. Here are some of the responses already received:

"Communicate lessons learned today with partners in the philanthropy sector who weren't here today."

"Convene a meeting to discuss how best to incorporate today's ideas into our own 'Community of Practice.'"

"Bring today's suggestions to our municipality."

However, it doesn't stop there. We invite you to incorporate your own goals for the future of SDG4 and continue to pursue them together!

  • If you were in attendance, please reflect on the day with us and share your next steps here.
  • The recording of the special event can be found here.
  • To learn more about the event, please contact Rachel Serebrenik at info@gce-us.org.

View photos from the event here.

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