Education enables upward socioeconomic mobility and is a key to escaping poverty. Over the past decade, major progress was made towards increasing access to education and school enrollment rates at all levels, particularly for girls.
On 25th September 2015, the 193 countries of the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Development Agenda titled ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’. This agenda has a total of 92 paragraphs, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals 1 are outlined in paragraph 51.
The implementation of these goals calls for concerted efforts towards building an inclusive resilient future for people and planet. For this, it is crucial to harmonize three core elements: economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection. These elements are interconnected and all are crucial for the well-being of individuals and societies.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are 17 priority goals that cover many important issues for the world, including: ending extreme poverty, ensuring all children receive a good education, achieving equal opportunities for all, and promoting better practices for consumption and production that will help make the planet cleaner and healthier. These 17 SDGs have 169 targets. Each target has between 1 and 3 indicators used to measure progress toward reaching the targets. In total, there are 232 approved indicators that will measure compliance 2,3,4.
SDG number 4 is Quality Education, which strives to ‘Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’.
A quality education is the foundation of sustainable development, and therefore of the Sustainable Development Goals. As a policy intervention, education is a force multiplier which enables self-reliance, boosts economic growth by enhancing skills, and improves people’s lives by opening opportunities for better livelihoods 3. In addition to improving quality of life, access to inclusive education can help equip locals with the tools required to develop innovative solutions to the world’s greatest problems.
Over 265 million children are currently out of school and 22% of them are of primary school age. Additionally, even the children who are attending schools are lack basic skills in reading and math. In the past decade, significant progress has been made towards increasing access to education at all levels and increasing enrollment rates in schools particularly for females. Basic literacy skills have improved tremendously, yet bolder efforts are needed to make even greater strides for achieving universal education goals. For example, the world has achieved equality in primary education between girls and boys, but only a few countries have achieved that target at all levels of education. The reasons for lack of quality education can be attributed to lack of adequately trained teachers, poor conditions of schools and equity issues related to opportunities provided to rural children. For quality education to be provided to the children of impoverished families, investment is needed in educational scholarships, teacher training workshops, school building and improvement of water and electricity access to schools.
The Sustainable Development targets for 2030 call for ensuring the completion of primary and secondary education by all boys and girls, and guaranteeing equal access to opportunities for access to quality technical and vocational education for everyone. Policy interventions will require improving access and improving quality, as well addressing relevant obstacles which include gender inequalities, food insecurity, and armed conflict. SDG for quality education has 10 targets