5-Year Progress Review
of SDG 4 - Education 2030
in Asia-Pacific

By UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education, UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office (EAPRO) and UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia (ROSA)

This report documents progress made towards the achievement of SDG 4 in the Asia-Pacific region since the ambitious vision for Education 2030 was set in 2015. It analyses the regional context, challenges and opportunities, and provides policy recommendations through the lens of the overarching themes of equity and inclusion, while also considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Progress towards SDG 4 has been uneven within and across countries in the Asia-Pacific. The 5-Year Progress Review of SDG 4- Education2030 in Asia-Pacific is the first regional and sub-regional progress review since countries have committed to SDG 4 – Education 2030 in 2015. The report documents the progress towards achieving SDG 4- Education 2030 and each of the ten targets. In particular, it analyses progress through the lens of two related issues that have gained much greater attention in recent years: equity and inclusion. Furthermore, it also presents analyses and adjustments made due to unforeseen challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. The report also highlights cases of good practice and recommendations aimed at guiding policy-makers and education stakeholders for the way forward.

The report reveals significant progress as more Asia-Pacific learners are participating in education than ever before, but the most disadvantaged are still left behind. We also face a learning crisis, as proficiency in foundational skills remains limited.


Huge inequalities and disparities remain among the most disadvantaged, who face barriers due to discrimination, inadequate policies, as well as a lack of equity-focused budgeting and data collection. These challenges have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which highlighted a widening digital divide and the need to develop digital skills among learners and the teaching workforce. Nonetheless, there has been significant progress in some countries, with concrete examples of best practices that provide hope that through collective action we can reach this ambitious goal.

"The achievement of the SDGs – including SDG 4 – requires that even more attention be paid to Equity and inclusion"

This review will analyse progress towards SDG 4 in the Asia-Pacific through the lens of equity and inclusion. Considerable progress can be observed with regard to greater equity in the region. However current assessments of progress towards the SDGs point to two main concerns. First, SDG 4 and its targets are not likely to be reached, and where progress has been made, it has not been equitably distributed. Second, groups that were vulnerable and marginalized before the development process either continue to be excluded, or have fallen even further behind.

Inclusive education is “a process that helps to overcome barriers limiting the presence, participation and achievement of learners"
(as defined by UNESCO)

Are we on track?

Take a look by each target

Key Recommendations
for accelerating progress
towards the SDG 4 Targets

Policies should not only be created to address emerging issues, but also to respond to an analysis of what has and has not worked, and assess which practices can be replicated or adapted in other countries.

  1. Build education systems that embrace relevance and flexibility, and have equity and learning at their core.
  2. Remove barriers that hinder equity, inclusion and quality in education.
  3. Ensure an adequate and equitable supply of motivated, supported, qualified, resources and empowered teachers.
  4. Increase and ensure the equitable supply of suitable infrastructure, physical and digital resources, from basic necessities to digital technologies.
  5. Strengthen monitoring and use of data on the levels of learning and conditions for learning.
  6. Increase investment in education and ensure efficient and equitable resource allocation, as well as accountability in expenditures, through a progressive universalism approach.
  7. Strengthen and broaden partnerships across all actors in education from parents and caregivers, to international organizations and the private sector.

The production of the report would not have been possible without the generous support from the Government of Japan through Japanese Funds-in-Trust (JFIT) for UNESCO.

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5-Year Progress Review of SDG 4 – Education 2030 in Asia-Pacific

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