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
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