Quality Education was voted among 160,000+ young people as the most burning issue globally says Youth Speak Survey (1) run by AIESEC in 2016. Why is that?
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” said Nelson Mandela (2), and seems like the world agrees with this narrative. Why is it still among the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 even though we all agree on its importance for a while now?
Unfortunately, there are some serious issues across the globe when we talk about Quality of Education and the current state. I have numbers to you to meditate on.
Here comes some statistics to learn about the current state of Quality Education all over the world based on the SDG 4 Targets (3):
- 4.1 Free, equitable access to quality education at primary and secondary schools:
“The total (out of school number) includes 64 million children of primary school age, 61 million of lower secondary school age and 138 million of upper secondary age.” (4)
→ How can those kids have any chances in a drastically changing external environment of this modern life? Not even considering the moral issues of competing with the offered benefits of soon-to-be AI-controlled future?
- 4.2 Access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education:
“more than 200 million children under 5 years fail to reach their potential in cognitive development because of poverty, poor health and nutrition, and deficient care” (5)
→ Can we replace a missing step of early development in their lives later on? They are doomed to fail in school and in life with a higher chance than others.
- 4.3 Access for all women and men to affordable and quality education:
“Limited access to educational opportunities in the past has left 774 million adults lacking basic literacy skills, of whom about two in every three are women.” (6)
→ How can they stand against the free/easy movements of better educated workforce due to globalization? Are they doomed to stay in lower classes of societies?
- 4.4 Increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills for employment:
“Only 5% of the population reached level three – those most proficient in computer-related activities.” among only OECD countries. (7)
→ While we have countries with completely digital e-governments and some part of the world we have an entire C (connected)-generation already grown up. How can vast majority of the world live in this rapidly changing technological environment and even make decisions over the unforeseeable future if many of them don’t even know how to turn on a computer or deliver basic computer tasks like writing an email or use the touchpad?
- 4.5 Eliminate inequalities including gender, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations:
“There is one billion people living with a disability in the world, out of which 10% are children.” (8)
→ How many of them can get access to schools? In the developing world 9 out of 10 children with disabilities never get basic education (8). Why are we marginalizing them even more than their physical health makes it a must?
- 4.6 Achieve literacy and numeracy:
171 countries out of 197 are having illiterate citizens. (9)
→ How can you educate and provide access to information or digital solutions for those who can not even read or count?
We are the privileged ones, who can independently open this digital platform and read this article and many more we got access too. Can you imagine your life without free access to information? Without having gone through the education you did? How different you life would be and what consequences your family would face? Don’t even start to think about your near-future relevance on this earth concerning rapid increase of use of Infotech and Biotech?
With that in mind, read the last target and sense your personal responsibility in making the world a better place:
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
- https://issuu.com/aiesecinternational/docs/report_youthspeak_2016 page 31
- https://uil.unesco.org/fileadmin/keydocuments/AdultEducation/en/GRALE_en.pdf page 19
Call to action:
- Read more → www.sustainabledevelopment.un.org
- Discuss the following topic with your sympathizers: How our world would change if we would reach all SDG 4 targets? What consequences of lack of education provide to those who have no access to quality education? Why is that we understand the importance of SDG 4 but still have giant gaps in delivering the targets?
- Find a project and reach out to the host entity to support them with advice or funds to deliver it, especially west African entities. The reason is the urgent need to deliver SDG-related changes there.
- Sponsor and motivate someone in your world to take a global volunteer project with AIESEC → aiesec.org/global-volunteer. I suggest one in Benin → aiesec.org/opportunity/870351
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The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of AAI.