SDG 4: Quality Education

What is the goal here?

Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.

Why does education matter?

Education enables upward socioeconomic mobility and is a key to escaping poverty. Education is also essential to achieving many other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). When people are able to get quality education they can break from the cycle of poverty. Education helps to reduce inequalities and to reach gender equality. In fact, one extra year of education is associated with a reduction of the Gini coefficient by 1.4 percentage points. Education empowers people everywhere to live more healthy and sustainable lives. Education is also crucial to fostering tolerance between people and contributes to more peaceful societies.

How much progress have we made so far?

Despite years of steady growth in enrolment rates, non-proficiency rates remain disturbingly high. Globally, an estimated 617 million children and adolescents of primary and lower secondary school age—more than 55 per cent of the global total—lacked minimum proficiency in reading and mathematics in 2015. Non-proficiency rates are highest in sub-Saharan Africa and Central and Southern Asia, where more than 80 per cent of children of primary and lower secondary school age were not proficient in reading.

What can we do?

Ask our governments to place education as a priority in both policy and practice. Lobby our governments to make firm commitments to provide free primary school education to all, including vulnerable or marginalized groups.

Encourage the private sector to invest resources in the development of educational tools and facilities. Urge NGOs to partner with youth and other groups to foster the importance of education within local communities.

Another important step towards the goal of good quality education for all is getting enough trained teachers into classrooms.