Toward Universal Learning: What Every Child Should Learn

In the run-up to 2015 and beyond, the global education community must work together to improve learning and propose practical actions to deliver and measure progress. In response, UNESCO through its Institute for Statistics (UIS) and the Center for Universal Education (CUE) at the Brookings Institution have co-convened the Learning Metrics Task Force (LMTF). The project’s main objective is to shift the focus of global education debates from access to access plus learning. Based on input from technical working groups and global consultations, the task force will make recommendations to help countries and international organizations measure and improve learning outcomes for children and youth worldwide.


  • According to estimations in the 2012 EFA Global Monitoring Report, at least 250 million primary-school-age children around the world are not able to read, write or count well enough to meet minimum learning standards, including those who have spent at least four years in school (UNESCO 2012).
  • To advance progress for children and youth around the world, it is critical that learning is recognized as essential for human development.
  • Based on the recom­mendations from working group members, input from global consultations and task force deliberation, seven domains and corresponding subdomains of out­comes related to learning are proposed as important for all children and youth.
  • Through the public consultation process, the task force learned that there is broad interest globally in exploring ways to measure learning beyond literacy and numeracy, where current capacity for assessment is concentrated.

Toward Universal LearningIn the first phase of the project, the Standards Working Group prepared a series of initial recommendations to identify the competencies, knowledge or areas of learning that are important for all children and youth to master in order to succeed in school and life. This initial work (based on current discussions, policies and research) was then enriched following a broad consultation involving more than 500 individuals in 57 countries.

The final Phase I recommendations from the task force are presented in its first report entitled, Toward Universal Learning: What Every Child Should Learn, which presents a framework for what every child and youth should learn and be able to do by the time they reach postprimary age.

Download the executive summary » (PDF)

Download the full report » (PDF)

Download Executive Summary in Arabic » (PDF)

Download Executive Summary in French » (PDF)

Download Executive Summary in Spanish » (PDF)