Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning
The UN explains: “Obtaining a quality education underpins a range of fundamental development drivers. Major progress has been made towards increasing access to education at all levels, particularly for women and girls.
Basic literacy skills across the world have improved tremendously, yet bolder efforts are needed to achieve universal education goals for all. For example, the world has achieved equality in primary education between girls and boys, but few countries have achieved that target at all levels of education.”
The UN has defined 10 Targets and 11 Indicators for SDG 4. Targets specify the goals and Indicators represent the metrics by which the world aims to track whether these Targets are achieved.
Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
4.1: 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: 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: By 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university
4.4: 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: 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: By 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy
4.7: 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: 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: 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: 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
59 million children aren’t in primary school and should be. 796 million people are illiterate. Last year, illiteracy cost the global economy over $1trillion. Education is a major driver behind economic growth – increased educational attainment accounts for 50% of the economic growth in OECD countries.
It’s an issue business can’t afford to ignore as it’s driving a skills gap – there are nearly 40 million too few college-educated workers in the global labour market, and a 45 million shortfall in secondary or vocational workers in developing countries.
What can business do? Review your pipeline (what skills will you need, where will you find them) – invest in education to make sure you have the right skills in place. Anticipate how changes in technology will impact your workplace’s training needs.