Education as a Human Right

Germany presented its first voluntary Report on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in July 2016 at the high-level political forum (HLPF) held in New York. The Report points to the SDG Agenda as a milestone in the history of the United Nations. Germany already has a very high level of development and sustainable development is one of the government’s main goals; they have had a National Sustainable Development Strategy since 2002. Its progress and implementation is monitored through regular national reports by the Federal Statistical Office accompanied by dialogue and consultation with civil society groups. Its four key principles are: intergenerational equity, quality of life, social cohesion, and international responsibility.

For Germany, the SDG Agenda means that their National Sustainable Development Strategy will be re-edited to engage every SDG Goal and define the next steps, which are considered to take place on three levels:

1.     Implementation and impact on a national level

2.     Global impacts

3.     Supporting other countries.

This first voluntary Report on the Sustainable Development Goals by Germany lays out the country’s related approaches on all three levels (implementation and impact on a national level, global impacts, supporting other countries) for every SDG Goal. For this ACEI country liaison summary, Goal 4 is addressed in detail.

SDG 4: Quality Education 4

The German government highlights education as a determinant for opportunities and as a human right. On a national level, a main concern is the dependence of opportunities on social background and parents’ education level. Eight national challenges mentioned:

1.     Education for sustainable development: the goal is to adopt sustainable education in the education sector

2.     Early childhood education: promoting research about how to improve opportunity—equality for children

3.     Enhancing the work-life balance: improving child care

4.     School education: education monitoring (e.g., through the Programme for International Student Assessment [PISA])

5.     Technical and vocational education and training: supporting adolescents in transition

6.     Comprehensive literacy: motivation for further learning

7.     Improving equality of opportunity (e.g., decoupling opportunities from social background)

8.     Inclusive education: further steps for the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities must be taken.

Global Impact of SDG Goal #4 for Germany

1.     Exchange in the education sector is important

2.     Promoting education services inside and outside of Germany for people from other countries

3.     Increasing the number of students in STEM subjects (SDG Goal 4b)

4.     Increasing the number of researchers from developing countries

5.     Supporting the implementation of the Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development (UNESCO).

Regarding support for other countries, the following fields are mentioned: basic training, university education, technical and vocational education and training, education measures, regional focus of African States that are affected by conflicts and unstable statehood.


UNESCO, Sustainable Development Goals. (2016). Unpacking Sustainable Development Goal 4 Education 2030: Guide, Education 2030. Download the report here.

Sustainable Development Platform: 2016 National Voluntary Reviews at the High-level Political Forum. “Executive Summary of the Report of the German Government to the High-Level Political Forum in July 2016.”

Resources about the Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) by the UNESCO can be found here.

KidsRightsIndex:  and Eurochild:

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. (2016). PISA 2015: Results in focus. Download the report here.

For further information and news, please visit:

·      German Institute for International Educational Research:

·      Federal Ministry of Education and Research

·      The German Youth Institute (Deutsches Jugendinstitut e.V., DJI)

·      The Max Planck Societies

·      The Child and Youth Welfare Association – AGJ:

·      The National Coalition Germany. Network for the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

·      The United Nations regional Information Centre for western Europe: