Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education

The fourth Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) is the goal to ensure quality education. It aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” 

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.” 

A quality education forms the basic requirement for the growth of an individual. Not only does it provide for increasing knowledge but also acts as a medium to increase the social and economic status of an individual. Education acts as a catalyst that expands intellectual horizons as well as the standard of living. It indirectly affects the standard of living as it increases the awareness levels of an individual by not only telling them about their rights and duties, but also awareness of what is and what was helps an individual in channelising their thoughts and opinions in the right direction. What education does is provide a platform to hone analytical and critical skills of an individual which would otherwise be wasted in self destructive activities. 

The Sustainable Development targets for 2030 call for ensuring the completion of primary and secondary education by all boys and girls, and guaranteeing equal access to opportunities for access to quality technical and vocational education for everyone. Policy interventions will require improving access and improving quality, as well addressing relevant obstacles which include gender inequalities, food insecurity, and armed conflict. 

The fourth goal is complemented by 10 targets, which provide a direction to work towards. For example the first target specifies the provision of at least one year


of free and compulsory quality pre-primary education is encouraged, to be delivered by well-trained educators, as well as that of early childhood development and care. Similarly, the third target lays emphasis on the fact that it is imperative to reduce barriers to skills development and technical and vocational education and training (TVET), starting from the secondary level, as well as to tertiary education, including university, and to provide lifelong learning opportunities for youth and adults. The provision of tertiary education should be made progressively free, in line with existing international agreements.

This post is the third post in the series of What Are SDGs? Stay tuned for more!


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