LearningRethink – SDG4 Quality Education
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SDG4 Quality Education

Obtaining a quality education is the foundation to creating sustainable development. In addition to improving quality of life, access to inclusive education can help equip locals with the tools required to develop innovative solutions to the world’s greatest problems.

There is a lot we can do to improve the quality of education. Together, we can make a difference.


Ensuring that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education and increasing the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills.

In the past decade, major progress has been made towards increasing access to education at all levels and increasing enrollment rates in schools particularly for women and girls. Basic literacy skills have improved tremendously, yet bolder efforts are needed to make even greater strides for achieving universal education goals.

Quality education plays an essential part in achieving many SDGs, including breaking the cycle of poverty, reducing inequalities, and empowering people everywhere to live healthy lives.

  • Sub-Saharan Africa is home to more than half of out-of-school children in the world.
  • In 2014, only 4 in 10 children in sub-Saharan Africa, the least developed countries, and landlocked developing countries participated in pre-primary education, which is considered an important part of a holistic and robust educational system.
  • In 2014, 263 million children, adolescents and youth were out of school. Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia accounted for over 70% of the global out-of-school population at every level, where educational systems struggle to keep up with the population growth.
  • One-third of countries in the developing regions have not achieved gender parity in primary education. In sub-Saharan Africa, Oceania and Western Asia, girls face barriers to entering both primary and secondary school, which further limits their opportunities in the labour market. Of the 103 million youth who lack basic literacy skills, more than 60% are female.
  • Enrollment in primary education in developing countries has reached 91%. According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, between 2000 and 2012, the percentage of out-of-school children among primary-school-age children has declined from 40% to 22% in sub-Saharan Africa and from 20% to 6% in Southern Asia.
  • Despite the increased enrollment in primary school, many students still don’t acquire basic skills. In many countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean, roughly half of students attain minimum proficiency levels in reading or mathematics by the end of primary school.
  • The lack of trained trained teachers and the poor condition of schools are jeopardizing the goal of quality education for all. This is most prominent in sub-Saharan Africa, which has the lowest percentage of trained teachers in all three levels of schooling and lacks basic school amenities. Only around one quarter of schools in this region have electricity, less than half have access to basic drinking water, only 69% have access to toilets, and less than 40% of schools have access to computers and the Internet.

You can urge government leaders to prioritize education in both policy and practice. You can also encourage the private sector to invest resources in the development of educational tools and facilities. You can also encourage NGOs to partner with youth and other groups to foster the importance of education within local communities.

  1. By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and Goal-4 effective learning outcomes
  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
  3. By 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university
  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
  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
  6. By 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy
  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
  8. Build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, nonviolent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all
  9. 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
  10. 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
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•   As a member of society, your active engagement in policy-making ensures that your voice is heard, knowledge is shared, and that critical thinking is encouraged at all ages. Policymakers can help generate job opportunities and fiscal policies that stimulate pro-poor growth and reduce poverty.

•   As a member of the science and academic community, you can help discover sustainable solutions for the challenges of reducing poverty. Thanks to this community, there is now greater access to safe drinking water, reduced deaths caused by water-borne diseases, and improved hygiene to reduce health risks related to unsafe drinking water and lack of sanitation.


You can help create a community of people and participate in the decision-making and implementation processes. Educate yourself about the issues we face as a global family, connect with like-minded people and take action.

Ask questions to your leaders about what they’re doing in regards to quality education. Focus your attention on actionable steps because no step is too small to make a difference. Join our community and help create a better world.