Rebuilding, Renewing, Transforming School Systems
Global Educator Organizations Collaborate to Rebuild, Renew & Transform School Systems
There are several global initiatives being led by UN agencies and others to rebuild and recover after the Covid 19 pandemic, to renew commitments to achieving the targets under Goal 4, and other goals of the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to transform school systems for 2050 and beyond. This page maintains an updated list & descriptions of some of these initiatives.
The global organizations representing teachers and other educators working in schools have developed a draft joint statement that provides advice on some of the principles, processes and other aspects that countries, states and provinces should consider as they chart their course towards inclusive, equitable, excellent and sustainable school systems. (GNDE has acted as the convenor for these discussions)
Go directly to the draft statement. This statement has been prepared by these organizations representing teachers, principals, school district administrators, senior school leaders, counselors and school psychologists.
If you and an individual or as an organization would like to endorse or comment on the statement, please go to this page to add your name and input.
The organizations developing this joint statement will be using it as a basis for their input into a variety of UN and global initiatives on rebuilding, renewing and transforming school systems. Please go to this web page for a list of those global consultations and discussions.
Key Principles & Processes for Rebuilding, Renewing & Transforming School and Other Systems
Advice from Global Organizations Representing Practising Educators
Download a Word version of the Statement
Many countries and several UN and global organizations are engaged in fundamental discussions about improving or reforming school systems as they recover from the disruption in schooling caused by the Covid 19 pandemic. This consensus statement has been prepared to offer several principles, priorities, practical steps, and other considerations to inform these discussions. Our essential message is that countries and global organizations/UN agencies should take the time necessary to truly consider the needs of the whole child, to find a better balance among the purposes of school systems and to engage stakeholders and practicing educators in dialogues based on continuous improvement and incremental systems change strategies.
The global organizations representing practicing educators, including teachers, support workers, school principals, school district administrators, senior school leaders, guidance counselors, school psychologists and deans of education have joined together to offer this advice on future education change and renewal.
The disruption of schooling around the world caused by the Covid 19 pandemic has coincided with increasing concern about several significant environmental, social, economic, technological challenges. The potential changes to school systems to respond to these challenges and the Covid recovery range in scale from transformational ideas about learning and education to more conventional debates about school reform vs school improvement.
The organizations representing practicing educators in school systems suggest that school systems can be re-balanced to place greater emphasis on the original purposes or functions of schooling that led to the creation of public schools in many countries, namely the socialization and safe custody/care-taking of children. Our advice is neither a vision nor a blueprint for change, as these paradigms should be co-constructed through other global and especially local discussions and consultations. In this statement we offer ideas and insights that could be considered as each jurisdiction charts its own course for systems change towards 2050.
This advice also suggests that rebuilding after the Covid pandemic and preparing for future outbreaks/ pandemics of infectious diseases, the renewing the commitments towards the achievement the UN Sustainable Goals and a systems approach to transformation are different pathways to change that are incremental, significant, and sustainable.
The Timeline for Change: 2050 and Beyond
The transformation of education systems is necessarily a deliberative and gradual process which is best built on incremental change and improvements facilitated by empowered and accountable professionals at every level. This is especially true as systems recover from the Covid pandemic, and as we realize how much still needs to be done to achieve the inclusion and equity goals stated in Goal #4 (education) of the UN Sustainable Development Goals,. As we re-build and continue progress towards 2050, we can be inspired by transformational ideas, re-imagined roles, and new understandings about cognition, teaching and learning. However, we also need to be focused and propose practical steps towards solutions to complex problems that are often rooted outside of schools. Nevertheless, time is short. The parents of the children who will enter our schools in 2050 are already the students in our classrooms today.
Contextualization, Engagement & Models for Systems Change
The change processes in every country, state and community must be relevant to their respective and unique cultural, economic, and political contexts. Working towards holistic redesign within defined guardrails so that change is planned and implemented over several years is vital. Engagement of all stakeholders is key. Students should be engaged and empowered. Parents should be informed, involved, and supported. Community, cultural and other organizations as well as individual volunteers should be active partners in planning, delivering, and assessing programs. Agencies and professionals from other systems should be mandated to work within and with schools. Educator leadership and teacher agency must be inherent in all decisions and practices. Elected and appointed officials governing and managing school systems should ensure that these processes are congruent with proven models for systems change.
The Purposes, Processes and Planned Pedagogy for Change
The reforms or improvements in each jurisdiction should be balanced across the pillars, purposes or functions of schooling. The categories of life-long learning articulated in the previous UNESCO Delors Commission report ((learning to do, to live together, to be and especially, to learn how to learn) can be used as a stable reference point[i]. School systems should work with other sectors to address the needs of the whole child and ensure that each child, especially those who have been marginalized by discrimination, displaced by wars or conflicts and disadvantaged by income, geography or other circumstances, are provided multiple, coordinated supports, services and the essential physical conditions and resources for learning and that they benefit from a broad range of formal subjects/curricula and informal, extended learning opportunities.
Many reports have underlined other urgent challenges caused by the climate crisis, trauma, social unrest, conflict, inequality, family stress and depression among young people. The responses to such challenges must be systemic and multi-tiered- not just an ad-hoc collection of specific programs in some schools. To create the space needed for such systemic improvements, the original purposes of schooling, to provide safe custody & care for marginalized children and to socialize them so that they live together in sustainable, cohesive communities need to be better balanced with the intellectual, vocational and accreditation functions of schooling.
National or local statements or frameworks describing overarching student competencies, capabilities or attributes should encompass the breadth and balance described here as well as provide a meaningful coherent base for young people as they begin to live, work, play and pray within their personal, local and national contexts. These contexts are influenced by global events, trends and forces but also have their own cultural, economic, and political characteristics which have a more immediate and powerful impact. Further, most curricula must take several years to develop and implement. Superimposing a competency framework on these existing courses without a multi-year implementation plan could end up being of little value. Ensuring that competency frameworks are used to meaningfully revise curricula, pedagogy and teaching/learning methods, student assessment and teacher/educator development will take time and resources.
As well, the often criticized but essential and stable practice of dividing what is to be learned into subjects or courses is not going to change unless universities and training institutions eliminate their programs and faculty structures which are built around the specialized disciplines and trades required in the world of work. Such dramatic change in post-secondary education is highly unlikely. Consequently, the competency-based learning frameworks should be applied to and articulated within each subject/discipline and adapted to each context. Well-designed change processes involving not-only the stakeholders concerned with each competency but also the stakeholders related the existing core subjects or pedagogical/student assessment strategies as well as with post-secondary institutions and programs can ensure that such competency frameworks are more than just generalizations or aspirations.
The Covid Pandemic, Learning and Change
The Covid pandemic has taught us again that health and well-being are determinants of our ability to learn. The school closures and isolation of children caused by the Covid pandemic has underlined the fact that schools are an essential, safe & healthy place at which children not only learn but also develop social & emotional bonds with others from different backgrounds. The multiple components of a comprehensive school-based and school-linked approaches to social & emotional learning including psycho-social support from peers, parents and others, classroom instruction, extra-curricular activities, and mental health as well as other support services have been well-described by several organizations,,,,. Helping students to recover after the Covid pandemic is more than remedial instruction, better use of technology and mental health services. It requires much greater investments in the socialization and custody/care-taking roles of schools.
It is ironic and tragic in these days of Covid that the current UN plan for monitoring student learning related to Goal #4 (education) deliberately excludes health and well-being. It is equally concerning that health & life skills education has been confused with physical education or sexuality education or often competes with other specific health topics. Health & life skills education, a core subject mandated by most countries in different formats, is the best vehicle to teach vaccine literacy, personal hygiene skills, how to find, verify and understand reliable health information - especially online, how to use protective equipment or safety precautions and to be fundamentally concerned about the health of others. Rather than viewing health only as a personal possession or responsibility or even as something we should be “free” to disregard, students need to be taught directly about their social and environmental responsibilities.
The Shared Responsibility for Effective, Inclusive and Equitable Schooling
In addition to introducing students in heterogeneous groups to others from different backgrounds and several trusted adults other than their parents, schools are the essential place with which other forms of informal, private, community-based and online learning can be affiliated and aligned. Schools should also be a hub for providing support to marginalized children, to provide counseling and guidance to all students and to mobilize/ coordinate agency and community resources. The proverbial village, comprised of other sectors, agencies and ministries, must share the responsibilities of ensuring that every child has access, is included and has an equitable opportunity to succeed. The education and other systems need to ensure that these goals of inclusion and equity are being met for all students.
The global community has articulated these essential objectives for equity and inclusion in Goal 4 (Education) of the UN Sustainable Development Goals,,. These goals must guide the development of school and other systems moving forward. There are many experience-tested and evidence-based frameworks, approaches, and programs to coordinate multiple interventions that address the many barriers to inclusion and equity. Countries should increase and strengthen their use of these frameworks as part of their efforts to renew their systems and to strengthen the necessary intersectoral coordination.
Within school systems, the well-being, preparation, working conditions, beliefs, professional norms, and professional autonomy of teachers,, school support staff, school principals, guidance counselors, school psychologists, school district administrators,, ministry officials and teacher education institutions will ultimately determine success or failure of any educational plan or program.
Long-term workforce planning,, and sustained investments for each of these categories of educators as well as for other professionals such as nurses, social workers, police and security officers, development/relief aid workers and others should supplant the current practice in many jurisdictions of piece-meal, sporadic, short-term, and problem/program specific staff development.
Pathways to Change and Continuous Improvement
Each jurisdiction will need to construct pathways to changing their school system which are most relevant to their students, parents, communities, and societies. These pathways are likely to be developed and implemented simultaneously but each route requires sustained attention. It is suggested here that all countries, states, and provinces should consider these three:
An Invitation and Commitment
This statement has been prepared to offer advice to local jurisdictions and global organizations who are rebuilding, renewing, and transforming school systems. Our hope is that this advice encourages a clear focus on the whole child, a balanced set of educational purposes, partnerships with other sectors and careful consideration of the processes as well as the intended and unintended impact of the envisioned changes. In schools, the selected processes of learning always have an impact. In school systems, the selected processes for change will have an equivalent and equally significant impact.
The organizations that have developed this joint statement stand ready to facilitate and encourage their involvement in local change and improvement efforts. Our first step will be to disseminate the ideas in this statement as widely as possible and invite others to endorse, comment and add their voice to these ideas and insights. We hope that the next step will be to assist school systems to chart their own course, hopefully with this advice from educators being useful and timely to them.
[i] A commentary on the UNESCO Futures of Education report from one of the key staff members supporting the Commission has suggested an updated version of the categories in the Delors report. As well, in-depth analysis of the manifest (intended, visible) and latent (hidden, unintended) functions of schooling is warranted in each jurisdiction. Countries should take the time necessary to engage their stakeholders and decision-makers in this fundamental discussion of purposes or functions that they want their school systems to perform. This re-balancing among the functions of schooling could herald a return to the original purposes of public schools often established during the shift from agrarian to industrial societies. This better balance among purpose recognizes that policies/programs to feed hungry students, to care for abused or traumatized students, to teach that our health is tied directly to the health or others and the planet, to engage students in school and out-of-school activities, to respect cultural heritages, to engage students in the arts, and to enable young people to discern truth and knowledge from historical biases and the social media onslaught of lies and sensationalism are equally important to the traditional literacy, numeracy and technological skills needed for the world of work.
 There are several countries currently engaged in school renewal and reform discussions. Examples of this include South Africa, Manitoba (Canada), England, among many others. Enabling these jurisdictions to learn directly from each other in different ways would be a significant contribution to their work.
 Included among the current list of global discussions of school renewal and reform are (1) the UNESCO Commission on the Futures of Education which has presented an inclusive vision and overview of many of the challenges and opportunities, (2) This Commission report will be part of the UN Transforming Education Summit in September (3) the OECD Initiative on the Future of Education in 2030 which is building on its traditions of monitoring student learning and promoting student competencies, (4) the Qatar Foundation World Innovation Summit for Education, (5) the 5th Forum on Transformative Education (co-hosted by UNESCO, APCEIU and Korea) called for the mainstreaming of transformative education emphasizing the social role of schooling, including education for sustainable development, global citizenship and health & well-being, (6) the Salzburg Global Seminar web-based programs and publications focus on inter-sectoral creative & healthy societies, long-term & sustainable development, rule of law & social trust. (7) The International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030 regularly holds forums on teacher education and development which includes a background paper on the Futures of Teaching. (8) The Education Commission has published a report on transforming the education workforce through differentiated staffing & including professionals from other sectors who work with schools in school-based teams. (9) The IIEP-UNESCO, Education Development Trust and the Education Commission have launched an initiative that focuses on the leadership/change agent roles of educators working in the “middle tiers” of school systems. (10) UNESCO is currently consulting widely on how its statutory consultation and survey on human rights done every four years can be revised to better reflect the needs of education and countries. Any revisions to this UNESCO survey/consultation should match up with any transformations of school systems.
 Representatives from the following organizations participated in the development of this draft statement. These organizations are currently consulting with their members/constituencies to endorse the statement. A final version will be published on this web page. The organizations are American Association of School Administrators (AASA), ASCD, Canadian Association of School System Administrators (CASSA), Education International, International Council of Principals, International School Psychology Association, International Association for Counselling, Global Network of Deans of Education
 Carl J. (2009) Industrialization and Public Education: Social Cohesion and Social Stratification. In: Cowen R., Kazamias A.M. (eds) International Handbook of Comparative Education. Springer International Handbooks of Education, vol 22. Springer, Dordrecht. doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6403-6_32
 OECD, Education International (2021) Ten Principles for Effective and Equitable Educational Recovery from COVID, OECD Publishing, Paris.
 UNESCO, UNICEF, The World Bank and OECD (2021) What’s Next?? Lessons on Education Recovery: Findings from a Survey of Ministries of Education amid the COVID-19 Pandemic, Paris, Authors
 UNESCO (2019) Meeting Commitments: Are countries on track to achieve SDG 4? Paris, UNESCO Institute for Statistics
 UN (2016) SDG 4: Ensure by 2030 inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, New York, UN
 American Association of School Administrators (2021) An American Imperative: A New Vision of Public Schools A Report from the Learning 2025: National Commission on Student-Centered, Equity-Focused Education, Alexandria, VA, AASA,
 Jurisdictions can use one or more models or frameworks to guide systems change. These include models such as Fullan & Quinn (2015) Coherence: The Right Drivers in Action for Schools, Districts, and Systems, Corwin Press; the Concerns-Based Adoption Model originally described by Hord, Rutherford, Huling & Hall (2006) Taking Charge of Change, SEDL; W E Deming (nd) Total Quality Management, Demings Institute. The key point is not necessarily the model selected but rather that the organization and its governors/employees have explicitly selected/developed a framework.
 Delors, Jacques (1996) Learning: the treasure within; report to UNESCO of the International Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century (highlights), Paris, UNESCO
 ASCD (2021) The Learning Compact Renewed: Whole Child for the Whole World, ASCD
 Kate Anderson, Helyn Kim, Seamus Hegarty, Martin Henry, Esther Care, Rachel Hatch, Joyce Kinyanjui, Francisco Cabrera-Hernández (2018) Breadth of Learning Opportunities, Center for Universal Education at Brookings, Education International
 Short KH, Finn C & Ferguson HB (2017) System Leadership in School Mental Health in Canada, Canadian Association of School System Administrators, Toronto, ON
 Fullan M (2021) The right drivers for whole system success, Center for Strategic Education, Leading Education Series #01 February 2021
 UNESCO MGIEP (nd) Transforming Education for Humanity. Building Social & Emotional Learning for Education 2030, Paris, UNESCO & the Mahatma Gandhi Institute for Peace & Sustainable Development
 Karanga. The Global Alliance for Social & Emotional Learning (2019) The Salzburg Statement for Social and Emotional Learning, Salzburg Global Seminar, Salzburg
 UNICEF (2006) Manual on Child Friendly Schools, New York, UNICEF
 Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (2010) INEE Minimum Standards for Education: Preparedness, Response, Recovery, New York, INEE
 WHO, UNESCO (2021) Making every school a health-promoting school. Global standards and indicators, WHO, UNESCO
 The Technical Cooperation Group, composed of 35 representatives from countries, multilateral agencies and civil society organizations guides the monitoring of Goal #4 (Education), including 4.7.1 (intended learning outcomes for students). At its Sixth meeting in August 2019, approved a proposal for a measurement strategy (p.13) that deliberately excluded health & well-being, likely because H&WB were not part of an existing international survey on civics education which was used as a model in the TCG considerations. Apparently, two other documents which included H&WB were not accepted. Eventually, due to challenges in collecting data from countries, the data collection process used an adapted version of an existing UNESCO survey on human rights but H&WB was not brought back into the framework.
 The report of the UNESCO Commission on the Futures of Education (p 68) is an example of how policymakers can be persuaded to focus on only one or two aspects of health and well-being. The report advocates for a physical education and a sexuality education programs without ever positioning there component parts within a broader instructional program on health and life skills education.
 Advocates, researchers and donors have focused almost entirely on topic-specific projects in areas such as drugs, HIV/AIDS, tobacco use, bullying and others without examining the instructional times, curriculum structures, scope and sequence of generic student outcomes and other aspects of a core health & life skills education program. The impact of specific extended educational activities such as recess, after-school programs and co-curricular learning through school routines has similarly been studied and promoted in a piece-meal manner rather than looking at the impact of a core, broad program.
 A 2008 UNICEF report on life skills education noted that a majority of countries had health & life skills education as part of their core curricula. In 2021, UNICEF, UNESCO, ISHN and other partners are conducting a fact-finding survey and policy/curriculum document analysis that will verify the status of H&LS as a core subject in all countries and states/provinces.
 FRESH Partners (nd) The FRESH Framework and Partnership, Surrey, BC, Author
 Global Education Monitoring Report (2020) Inclusion and education: All Means All, Paris UNESCO 2020
 UNESCO (2017) A guide for ensuring inclusion and equity in education. Paris, UNESCO
 Global Partnership for Education (2019) Leaving No One Behind. A Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (KIX) Discussion Paper, Washington, DC, GPE
 The FRESH Partnership, a coalition of UN agencies, donors, and civil society organizations, has defined the core components common to these multi-intervention approaches and programs. The International School Health Network has listed over 40 policy/program coordination frameworks that have been developed, evaluated, and promoted at the global level.
 ILO, UNESCO (2019) The ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers (1966) and The UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher-education Teaching Personnel (1997) with a revised foreword and user's guide 2016, Paris, UNESCO
 Education International (2021) The bedrock of inclusion: why investing in the education workforce is critical to the delivery of SDG4, Brussels, Education International, Light of the World
 Philippa Butler (2019) Understanding the Invisible Workforce: Education Support Personnel’s Roles, Needs and the Challenges They Face, Brussels, Action AID, Education International
 Hall M & Batten ally M (2019) Our Principal Wellbeing. Making a Difference, Presentation to ACTPA-ICP-Shanghai-Convention-Oct 2019, International Confederation of Principals
 International School Psychology Association (2021) Back to School Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic: Considerations and a Call to Action to Support School Communities Worldwide, Amsterdam, ISPA
 AASA (2021) An American Imperative: A New Vision of Public Schools, American Association of School Administrators, Washington DC
 Short KH, Finn C, Ferguson HB (2017) System Leadership in School Mental Health in Canada, Canadian Association of School District Administrators, Toronto, ON
 Douglas McCall, Irma Eloff & James O’Meara (2020) The Critical Role of Education Faculties in the Global Agenda for Quality Education, Global Network of Deans of Education
 Long-term workforce development includes sustained investments and attention to the initial education, ongoing development, qualifications, experience, retention/turnover/transfer patterns, intrinsic motivation, attitudes, professional norms, working conditions, career paths and wellness of employees.
 National Institutes of Health (nd) Workforce Planning Model (Online) Bethseda, MD, Author
 World Bank (nd) Workforce Development-Tools & Resources, Washington, DC, World Bank
 World Bank (nd) What Matters Most for Teacher Policies: A Framework Paper, Washington DC, World Bank
 The categories of professionals who should be supported by specific workforce plans and initial/ongoing development programs include early childhood educators, primary school teachers, middle school teachers, secondary school subject specialists, school counsellors, school psychologists, school principals, middle and senior administrators, ministry officials, education support staff, pastoral counsellors, school social workers, school nurses, relief aid workers, development aid workers, school resource officers, security and civil protection staff, food services staff, health workers caring for students severe and chronic health or other problems and more. These workforce development plans need to be specific to each category of personnel. UN agencies, global organizations and professional associations representing these professionals should work together to develop models of better plans and policies/development strategies suitable for different contexts.
 Sabine Meinck, Julian Fraillon, Rolf Strietholt (2022) The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on education: International evidence from the Responses to Educational Disruption Survey (REDS), Paris, UNESCO & International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (
 Craig B Dalton, Martyn D Kirk & David N Durrheim (2022) Using after‐action reviews of outbreaks to enhance public health responses: lessons for COVID‐19, The Medical Journal of Australia, 216 (1): 4-9.doi: 10.5694/mja2.51289
 World Bank (nd) RES-360° Tool Kit: Resilience in education systems: rapid assessment manual, World Bank, Education Resilience Program, Washington, DC
 The FRESH Partners have developed evidence-based self-assessment/planning tools for several themes or topics such as physical activity, nutrition, and injury prevention. The International School Health Network list of 40+ policy/program coordination frameworks shows how this has been done for many other topics or themes.
 Inter-Agency Network on Education in Emergencies (2010) Minimum Standards for Education:Preparedness, Response, Recovery, New York, INEE
 UNISDR (2017) Comprehensive School Safety: A Global Framework in support of The Global Alliance for Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience in the Education Sector and The Worldwide Initiative for Safe Schools, UNDRR (formerly UNISDR)
 This lack of clarity and understanding about excellence and equity can be illustrated. For example, an OECD overview on excellence and equity derived from PISA scores suggests that all students can achieve in science education if additional support is provided. However, PISA measures only achievement only in a narrow range of subjects and certainly not for the development of the whole child. Education International in its briefing by Education International to the 2021 International Summit on the Teaching Profession broadened that excellence-equity connection. WestEd — a nonpartisan, non-profit research & development agency, has explained how the deep connections among equity, excellence and well-being are being clarified and strengthened as a “path to better education systems”.
 A recent Commission on the future of K-12 education in Manitoba, Canada has described this imperative of committing to equitable outcomes while improving the achievement of all students (p13). The Commission concludes that “education that is focused on improvement for all ensures that educational excellence is distributed across demographic lines” and “requires a disaggregation of the data to see who the students and groups are that are performing well”, as well as calling for publicly funded education that “removes barriers to success, ensuring that background factors do not determine a child’s destiny”.
 UN (2016) SDG 4: Ensure by 2030 inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, New York, UN
 UNESCO (2019) Meeting Commitments: Are countries on track to achieve SDG 4? Paris, UNESCO Institute for Statistics
 UNESCO (2017) Education for Sustainable Development Goals. Learning Objectives, Paris, UNESCO
 Education and schooling were described as an “essential pillar” to achieving the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by UN Secretary General António Guterres and Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the UN General Assembly at the UNESCO General Conference on 12 November 2019.
 This list of over 40 intersectoral policy-program coordination frameworks should also be used in transforming our often ad-hoc approach to cross sector work, policy and program development.
[55a] Gerry J. Reezig (2001) A Framework for Effective School Improvement, Report prepared for the Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS) of the European Commission, Brussels
i55b] Council of Chief State School Officers (2017) CCSSO Principles of Effective School Improvement Systems, Washington, DC, CCSSO
 There are models and paradigms for educational change such as Fullan & Quinn (2015) Coherence: The Right Drivers in Action for Schools, Districts, and Systems, Corwin Press; the Concerns-Based Adoption Model originally described by Hord, Rutherford, Huling & Hall (2006) Taking Charge of Change, SEDL; W E Deming (nd) Total Quality Management, Demings Institute. The key point is not necessarily the model selected but rather that the organization and its governors/employees have explicitly selected/developed a framework.
 Karen Shakman, Diana Wogan, Sheila Rodriguez, Jared Boyce, and Debra Shaver (2020) Continuous Improvement in Education: A Toolkit for Schools and Districts, Institute of Education Science, Department of Education, USA
 The Education Commission, chaired by the UN Special Envoy for Global Education and led by several world leaders, is an example of an Advisory Council with an ongoing role in transforming education. The EC activities report for 2016-2021 has described the impact on these external economic, social and cross-sectoral factors that can support or limit school system-based reforms.
 A 2017 review of American education commissions (with a Canadian example) has identified the tendency of many such inquiries “to envision a system out of sync with public expectations or societal needs” as an understandable phenomenon given that they are usually created to address the real or perceived inadequacies of the status quo. The same review underlines the need to understand the social, economic and political context of each commission. Countries should identify commissions that have had a significant impact on their or similar countries. For example, the US 1983 commission report, A Nation at Risk, had a huge impact on American education., the 1950 Planning Commission of India led to the creation of most of that country’s education infrastructure and several commissions in Kenya have led education reform. However, the Kenya and other commissions have often been criticized and ineffective. An early (1987) review of education commissions in the US found that they were often long in duration, general in their recommendations, paid little attention to implementation and were largely ineffective. It is clear, however, from this brief discussion that such commissions should be established, structured and perceived to be above the interests and immediate concerns of the governments that create them. (They are often designated as “royal” or as created by the head of state to denote this significance and independence. Given this mixed history found in this brief look and the obvious need that transforming schools should be preceded in each jurisdiction by an independent investigation and report, it is suggested here that UN agencies and organizations collaborate to develop evidence-based and practical guidance on the formation and operation of education commissions for countries to use as they begin the transformation of their school systems.
 The Technical Coordinating Group monitoring the achievement has reported on the challenges of collecting reliable data to monitor the achievement of the targets in Goal 4. The UNESCO survey and consultation on international cooperation, human rights and peace education, which is done every four years, was modified to collect the needed data but less than half of UNESCO member states were able to return the survey. (The survey and underlying indicators are being revised.). In the meantime, the process planned for Goal 4 has devolved to regional collections and analysis of participation/graduation rates and literacy, numeracy scores.