Credits Photo: UNICEF
Published on January 15, 2024

Transforming Education

Despite the impressive expansion of access to education over the past decades and its direct contribution to upholding people’s rights and human dignity and advancing social, economic, political, and cultural development across the world, education is in deep crisis.

This crisis of equity, quality, and relevance is depriving hundreds of millions of the most vulnerable children, young people, and adults of education and excluding them from lifelong opportunities. Millions more are in school but not learning. As our societies, economies and environment undergo fundamental change, contemporary education systems are struggling to respond. Together, these crises have left the education-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda severely off track and risk leaving learners and societies ill-equipped to navigate uncertain futures.8 There is an urgent need to invest more, more equitably, and more efficiently in education. Education spending must be perceived as a crucial national investment in people and our collective future, not consumption. Investing in education is a moral, political, and economic imperative. The cost of not financing education is much higher than the cost of financing it.

Let’s move forward together, so that everyone can learn, thrive and dream throughout their lives. Let’s make sure today’s learners and future generations can access the education they need, to create a more sustainable, inclusive, just and peaceful world for all.

-  ANTÓNIO GUTERRES UN Secretary-General Remarks from the Transforming Education Summit, 2022 Transforming Education Financing Key SDG Transitions: Transforming Education 8. Report on Transforming Education Summit, 2022 Photo credit: UNICEF


The completion rate for primary education in Mali has declined between 2017 (48%) and 2020 (43%). The country also has a gender gap between the completion rate for boys (37%) which is higher than girls (33%). School wastage, dropping out, early marriage, rural exodus and insecurity are among the explanatory reasons of the decline. The percentage of repeaters increased from 15% (2017) to 18% (2020). The Education sector policy document set a goal to reduce the repeating rate to 5% by 2030 for the first six years of primary education.

The Joint SDG Fund facilitated the Government to produce a budget brief on the education sector needs, especially in light of the school closures due to political insecurities. Public expenditure reviews on the education section in partnership with the World Bank aligned with the implementation of Mali’s Integrated National Financing Framework. The assessments and reviews are anticipated to enhance advocacy and facilitate the securing of additional budget allocation for the education sector to meet the SDGs. Let’s move forward together so that everyone can learn, thrive and dream throughout their lives. Let’s make sure today’s learners and future generations can access the education they need, to create a more sustainable, inclusive, just and peaceful world for all.



Under the Fund’s catalytic investment portfolio, the UN is supporting the Indonesian government with a series of national and municipal SDG bond issuances. The first sovereign SDG bond issuance raised US$584 million from the global capital market in 2021. The Government has used the proceeds to provide free routine vaccines to 30 million children and scholarships to over 11 million low-income students aged 6 to 21. The Government also supported the installation of internet infrastructure expanding access to wireless services in 6 rural provinces increasing the potential for digital access and education. Indonesia issued a second sovereign SDG bond for US$210 million in local markets in 2022, with a third issuance planned in 2023.



In Brazil, the Government is scaling up the Happy Child Programme, an existing social protection scheme reaching families and caregivers, by now including home visits and additional support to ensure enhanced child cognitive, emotional, and social development. An example of innovative integrated policy development, the UN supported the investment case for early childhood development as one of the best ways to boost shared prosperity, expand equitable opportunity, end extreme poverty and accelerate SDG targets. The collation of scientific data and analysis for decision-makers enabled this initiative to be codified into state policy and legislation. During the pandemic, families were faced with new challenges. The Ministry of Citizenship, with support from UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, UNESCO and UN Women developed a multi-media campaign informing and empowering parents and caretakers on the importance of early childhood education, “Love, Play and Care – the ABC for the Early Childhood”. Every week media professionals received videos, podcasts, and informational brochures focused on family emotional health and parental care; childhood anxiety; maternal depression; domestic violence; and social rights for children and pregnant women. The program provided support to thousands of pregnant women and children up to six years in almost 3,000 Brazilian municipalities reaching one million beneficiaries in two years.



The Joint SDG Fund's joint programmes are under the prestige leadership of the Resident Coordinator Office and implementing United Nations Agencies. With sincere appreciation for the contributions from the European Union and Governments of Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and our private sector funding partners, for a transformative movement towards achieving the SDGs by 2030.