Goal 4: Quality Education

Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

If you cannot read or write, or perform basic arithmetic, you effectively have little chance of taking charge of your own life and enjoying equal opportunities. Education impacts not only on your career, but on many other aspects of life including social contacts and political participation.

People with no school education tend to be poor and have few opportunities to escape poverty. They lack the most basic skills and knowledge that would enable them to earn a living. But the poorer a family is, the shorter the schooling of their children – it really is a vicious circle.

A lot has been achieved in recent years. Literacy rates have risen significantly around the world, as has the number of children completing basic or primary education. But there are still millions of children who do not attend school – many of them girls. Even in some industrialised countries members of socially disadvantaged groups or minorities find it much more difficult to access high quality education or gain a place at a university. And the quality of education fluctuates enormously around the world.

What must be done?

Every individual should have free access to every level of the education system. And that means that gender, background, position within society or disabilities must not result in disadvantages. It starts in pre-school, and continues in school and later in vocational training or university studies. Where an individual cannot afford education, grants must be available. Where necessary, schools must be built, extended and better equipped in order to create a positive, open learning environment. Teachers must be well trained and better paid, if they are to give children a high quality education.

Facts and figures

  • 57 million primary school age children, most of them girls, do not attend school. The actual figure is probably very much higher.
  • More than 770 million young people and adults cannot read or write. About two thirds of them are women.
  • Between 2000 and 2013 the number of university and college students in the world’s developing regions doubled.

4.1 Ensure school education

By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes

4.2 Pre-primary education for all

By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education

4.3 Technical, vocational and tertiary education

By 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university

4.4 More qualified workforce

By 2030, 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 Inclusion

By 2030, 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 Achieve literacy and numeracy

By 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy

4.7 Education for sustainable development

By 2030, 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 Barrier-free education facilities

Build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all

4.b Scholarships for developing countries

By 2020, 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 Train teachers

By 2030, 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

“It is not time to tell the world leaders to realise how important education is - they already know it – their own children are in good schools. Now it is time to call them to take action for the rest of the world's children.”


Source: Nobelprize.org

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