During our previous “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” dedicated blog entry we presented the 3rd SDG “GOOD HEALTH AND WELL-BEING”. Following on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in this entry we present you the 4th SDG “QUALITY EDUCATION”. Poor health can result to educational setbacks and interfere with schooling, whereas a society with poor well-being inevitably puts quality education second.
The 4th Sustainable Development Goal
QUALITY EDUCATION, the 4th SDG, is about “ensuring inclusive and equitable education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all”. Education is the process of facilitating learning and the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs and habits. Quality education entails several subjects, including politics, economics and social issues. A well-rounded education includes basic knowledge lessons, along with the teaching of the aforementioned issues and the cultivation of critical thinking. When this kind of education is provided for all and in an early age, it assures a society’s prosperity and well-being.
Education matters because it facilitates socioeconomic mobility and consists a crucial part for escaping poverty. Moreover, education helps diminish inequalities and a mean to promote tolerance and more peaceful societies. Some societies are better equipped with the necessary tools to support a good education system for all. On the other hand, some countries still endure educational fallbacks and lack basic education, which creates a big divide between countries and inequalities among societies.
The countries that are struggling the most with access to education are mostly located in Sub-Saharan Africa. Specifically, countries in this region face the biggest challenges in providing schools with basic resources. The situation is extreme at the primary and lower secondary levels, where less than one half of schools in sub-Saharan Africa have access to drinking water, electricity, computers and the Internet.
The main goal of this SDG is to achieve quality education for all by the year 2030. Its specific targets – as defined in the official UN SDGs website – are to:
4.1 Ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and Goal-4 effective learning outcomes
4.2 Ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and preprimary education so that they are ready for primary education
4.3 Ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university
4.4 Substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship
4.5 Eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations
4.6 Ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy
4.7 Ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development
4.A Build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, nonviolent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all
4.B Substantially expand globally the number of scholarships available to developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States and African countries, for enrolment in higher education, including vocational training and information and communications technology, technical, engineering and scientific programmes, in developed countries and other developing countries
4.C Substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers, including through international cooperation for teacher training in developing countries, especially least developed countries and small island developing states
Participation in organised pre-primary learning increased from 65% in 2010 to 73% in2019. However, the COVID-19 global crisis seems to have impacted the progress made in the education area for the past years. Even before the pandemic, the progress made was already slow and insufficient to reach the main goal and targets of SDG-4 by the year 2030. The pandemic brought school closure, which caused many children and youngsters worldwide to fall behind their studies and learning which jeopardises their progress and their long-term upgrowth. Especially children that do not have the means to access remote learning, they probably won’t have the chance to return to their regular studies. Therefore, there are still a lot to be done in order to provide quality education for all.
To provide education for all requires a contribution from all, including individual responsibility, actions by governments, organisations and so on.
CODECA aspires to be part of this combined effort to achieve SDG-4. We seek to pay special attention on educational programmes for people Not in Education, Employment, or Training (NEETs), in order to offer them education opportunities and give them the chance to access the labour market. To accomplish that it is aimed to put ideas forward through EU and national projects so as to create viable education programmes for NEETs.
Stay tuned to learn about the 5th Sustainable Development Goal!