Australia/Netherlands/UK proposed merging the objective of vocational education and higher education in order to acquire skills, which was wise and appreciated by the governing forces, but has mysteriously never succeeded in achieving the next project. The struggle for comprehensive sex education continued within an escape group, but no compromise was ultimately reached; it was too controversial and highly symbolic because of the lack of previous intergovernmental agreements. The SDGs also introduce a new set of priorities in the field of education. Given the narrow scope of the Millennium Development GOALS, many of those working directly to promote education were skeptical of the ability of a monitoring framework to adequately meet their needs. The failure to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and Education for All (EFA), combined with public budgets, stagnant aid for education and the limited appetite of governments for binding international agreements, had called into question the effectiveness of another global framework (King, 2013a). At the same time, there was a great desire to do it correctly this time around, and the recommendations of the MDG and EFA era gave both a first direction and a sense of urgency (UNESCO, 2014f). The only major disagreement among civil society organizations was the role of learning. It could be called a struggle between education and learning (for more information, see Chapter 9). A vision of law-based education, defined by its breadth and championed by IS, GCE and ICAE, has been countered with the emphasis on learning, where measurable learning outcomes have been seen as the key to equity and quality advocated by Save the Children and a number of small organizations. This defining division within the CSO community in education was difficult for others to understand, but the two groups organized events, mobilized for joint statements and argued about the statement of civil society at each OWG meeting. The focus on the relevant achievements of learning was one of many compromises that were made; literacy and numeracy skills, as well as a wide range of Aboriginal issues and knowledge, which allowed civil society organizations to avoid conflict and make statements during the two minutes allotted, while leaving their demands open for interpretation.
While the education sector had agreed on its own post-2015 proposal, the OWG process progressed faster than expected: after the global education meeting, which was postponed from March to May 2014 and stakeholders adopted a goal and a set of seven objectives under the Muscat agreement, the OWG consensus-building process reached a point where there was little appetite to accept larger texts from external processes.