No. 4 displays the band returning to the more hard rock-oriented sound of their first two albums. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic cited the album as STP's "hardest effort" since Core, remarking that "it's as if STP decided to compete directly with the new generation of alt-metal bands who prize aggression over hooks or riffs." Erlewine also commented that No.4 "consolidates all [of STP's] strengths."
AllMusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine rated the album four out of five stars, praising the opening tracks "Down" and "Heaven & Hot Rods". Entertainment Weekly critic Rob Brunner graded it "C", calling the album "generic and phoned in" and mostly "unexciting and obvious". Brunner deemed the track "Down" as "dour", "No Way Out" as "dated", and "Atlanta" as "pretentious". Brunner further deemed the tracks "Sex & Violence" and "Pruno" as "hardly original" and having resemblances to David Bowie but also as "well-crafted". Rolling Stone critic Lorraine Ali rated it three out of five, calling the songs "strong pop-rock pieces but without the self-consciousness of previous efforts". CMJ New Music Monthly critic M. Tye Comer called the album "powerful and cohesive", recommending readers to listen the tracks "Heaven & Hot Rods", "Church on Tuesday", "Sour Girl", and "No Way Out". Critics noted similarities between "Atlanta" and "My Favorite Things" from the 1959 musical The Sound of Music.
The cover art for No. 4 generated some brief controversy because it strongly resembled the cover of the debut EP from Washington, D.C.-based band Power Lloyd. The Power Lloyd CD Election Day had been released in 1998, and the cover was a white five-point star on a black field under the band's name; STP's No. 4 also featured a white five-point star on a black field under the band's name. Power Lloyd co-founder Gene Diotalevi explained that after their band had given a song to MTV to be used on the soundtrack of Celebrity Deathmatch, someone at MTV with an advance copy of No.4 noticed that the covers were nearly identical, and alerted the band. Diotalevi stated that no one from STP's camp would return their calls or letters, until his band mailed a cease-and-desist letter to STP's record company. STP's legal team then "made an offer to settle that was unacceptable to us", according to Power Lloyd's lawyer Will Shill.
Proportion of children and young people (a) in grades 2/3; (b) at the end of primary; and (c) at the end of lower secondary achieving at least a minimum proficiency level in (i) reading and (ii) mathematics, by sex
Parity indices (female/male, rural/urban, bottom/top wealth quintile and others such as disability status, indigenous peoples and conflict-affected, as data become available) for all education indicators on this list that can be disaggregated
Extent to which (i) global citizenship education and (ii) education for sustainable development are mainstreamed in (a) national education policies; (b) curricula; (c) teacher education and (d) student assessment
It is estimated that 101 million additional children and young people (from grades 1 to 8) fell below the minimum reading proficiency level in 2020 owing to the consequences of the pandemic, which wiped out the education gains achieved over the past 20 years. Reading proficiency levels could recover by 2024, but only if exceptional efforts are devoted to the task through remedial and catch-up strategies.
Just before the pandemic, 53 per cent of young people were completing secondary school globally, although the figure for sub-Saharan Africa was only 29 per cent. The rise in school completion rates may slow or even reverse depending on the duration of school closures, which are resulting in learning losses and affecting the motivation to attend school, and on the extent to which poverty might increase, adding to the obstacles faced by disadvantaged children.
The rate of participation in organized learning one year before the official age of entry into primary education rose steadily in the years before the pandemic, from 65 per cent in 2010 to 73 per cent in 2019, but with variation among countries and territories ranging from 12 per cent to nearly 100 per cent. Gender parity has been achieved in every region. The progress made over past years has been at risk since 2020 because early education facilities and primary schools closed in most countries and territories, preventing or limiting access to education, especially for children from low- and middle-income countries and territories.
Disparities in access to education and learning outcomes persist across a range of education indicators. For example, there were still only 92 literate women and girls 15 years of age or older for every 100 literate boys and men of the same ag e range in 2019. Almost half of countries and territories with recent data did not achieve gender parity in primary completion, and only a handful of countries and territories demonstrate parity in tertiary enrolment ratios. Disparities by urban/rural geographical location and household wealth are typically more extreme, with one third and one sixth of countries and territories achieving parity in primary completion, respectively, and no countries or territories with recent data achieving parity in tertiary attendance. The pandemic is expected to lead to a reversal in recent progress towards equity. With the shift towards remote learning, those from the poorest households and other vulnerable groups are less equipped to participate and more likely to drop out permanently or for extended periods.
According to data for the period from 2017 to 2019, more than one fifth of primary schools worldwide do not have access to basic drinking water, and more than one third lack basic handwashing facilities. In the least developed countries, more than two thirds of primary schools do not have access to electricity, with even lower rates of Internet access and computer availability for pedagogical purposes in schools.
In 2019, 81 per cent of primary school teachers were trained, although that proportion was lower in sub-Saharan Africa (65 per cent) and Southern Asia (74 per cent). With the unprecedented lockdown as a result of the pandemic leading to total or partial school closures in most countries and territories, the teaching workforce was severely affected.
Participation in organized learning one year before the official primary age of entry grew steadily, from 62 per cent in 2010 to 67 per cent in 2018. However, variation among countries is still wide, with values ranging from 9 to nearly 100 per cent.
The primary school completion rate reached 84 per cent in 2018, up from 70 per cent in 2000. Under current trends, the rate is expected to reach 89 per cent globally by 2030. In 2018, 258 million children, adolescents and young people 6 to 17 years of age were still out of school, representing 17 per cent of the global population of that age group. Parity between children or adolescents from the richest and poorest quintiles of the population was achieved in 25 per cent of countries for primary education, 21 per cent of countries for lower secondary education and only 1 per cent of countries for upper secondary education.
In 2018, some 773 million adults, two thirds of them women, remained illiterate in terms of reading and writing skills. The global adult literacy rate, for the population 15 years of age and older, was 86 per cent in 2018, while the youth literacy rate, for the population 15 to 24 years of age, was 92 per cent. Southern Asia is home to nearly half of the global illiterate population, and sub-Saharan Africa is home to one quarter thereof.
In 2019, less than one half of primary and lower secondary schools in subSaharan Africa had access to electricity, the Internet, computers and basic handwashing facilities, key basic services and facilities necessary to ensure a safe and effective learning environment for all students.
Based on data from 129 countries, the percentage of primary school teachers receiving the minimum pedagogical training according to national standards throughout the world has stagnated at 85 per cent since 2015. The percentage is lowest in sub-Saharan Africa (64 per cent) and Southern Asia (72 per cent).
Despite the considerable progress on education access and participation over the past years, 262 million children and youth aged 6 to 17 were still out of school in 2017, and more than half of children and adolescents are not meeting minimum proficiency standards in reading and mathematics. Rapid technological changes present opportunities and challenges, but the learning environment, the capacities of teachers and the quality of education have not kept pace. Refocused efforts are needed to improve learning outcomes for the full life cycle, especially for women, girls and marginalized people in vulnerable settings.
More than half of children and adolescents worldwide are not meeting minimum proficiency standards in reading and mathematics. Refocused efforts are needed to improve the quality of education. Disparities in education along the lines of gender, urban-rural location and other dimensions still run deep, and more investments in education infrastructure are required, particularly in LDCs.
Achieving inclusive and equitable quality education for all will require increasing efforts, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia and for vulnerable populations, including persons with disabilities, indigenous people, refugee children and poor children in rural areas.
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