SDG 4 Courses: Quality Education

The foundation to creating sustainable development is obtaining a quality education. Besides improving the quality of life, a quality education also helps equip people with the tools to be able to contribute to innovative solutions to ongoing world’s issues. Even though a major progress has been made when it comes to improving the access to education during the previous decade, over 265 million children are still out of school. The statistics show that enrolment of children in primary education has reached 91 per cent in developing countries, but still 57 million of children of primary age are out of school, and, more than half of them live in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is estimated that 50 per cent of children who are out of school live in conflict-affected countries, while 617 children and adolescents lack minimum proficiency in reading and mathematics.

A quality education enables people to escape poverty and increase their socioeconomic mobility. Therefore, the goal is ensure inclusive and quality education for and promote lifelong learning. Besides this, education is essential to achieving other sustainable development goals because it helps reduce inequalities and helps reach gender equality. It empowers people to live more sustainable and healthy lives and fosters tolerance while contributing to more peaceful societies.

The reasons for lack of quality education are numerous. There is a lack of appropriately trained teachers and poor conditions and equity issues create less opportunities for children in rural areas. This is mostly visible in the Sub-Saharan Africa, where schools lack basic resources. Less than one half of schools in this region have access to drinking water, electricity, computers and the Internet. Gender inequality also represents one of the biggest issues since about one third of developing countries failed to achieve gender parity in primary education. This is most notable in Western Asia, Oceania and Sub-Saharan Africa, where girls face barriers to attend primary and secondary schools, which directly affects them by creating less opportunities in the labor market. For quality education to be available to children affected by poverty, there is a need for investments in educational scholarships, as well as teacher training workshops, improvement of water and electricity and school building. The governments should make education a priority in their policies and practices and firmly commit to providing free primary school education to all, with a particular focus on marginalized and vulnerable groups. Last, but not least, private sector should invest in the development of educational tools and facilities, while NGOs should partner with youth and other groups in local communities to foster the importance of education.

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