Written by Lauren Smith - 16th March 2022
A Guide To The UN SDG'S – Goal 4 Quality Education
We began this series last year as a way to look at each of the UN Sustainable Development Goals that we directly support, and share the amazing stories of our social venture partners who are working on these issues right now. This month’s instalment will focus on Goal 4 – Quality Education. We will be looking at why this is so important, what we as businesses and consumers can do to help and of course, our social venture partners who are tackling these problems right now.
QUICK REMINDER - WHAT ARE THE UN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS?
The 2030 Agenda was adopted in 2015 by all UN Member States and describes an ambitious strategy to stimulate action in areas of critical importance. At the centre of this strategy are the 17 SDGs and each of these goals represents the issues that matter most and will bring about peace and prosperity to humanity and the planet.
Goal 4 – Quality Education
The primary aims of Goal 4 is to ensure inclusive, equitable and quality education for all and to promote lifelong learning opportunities. Education is a fundamental human right and has the ability to transform lives and help build a more peaceful society.
In 2018, around 258 million children and youth were still out of school and disparities between location and wealth remain evident. Data from 2016 - 2019 showed that globally, more than a fifth of primary schools didn’t have clean drinking water or single-sex toilets and more than a third lacked hand-washing facilities and one in four didn’t have electricity. By 2030, this goal hopes to provide all girls and boys free primary and secondary schooling, eliminate gender and wealth disparities and hopes to achieve universal access to quality higher-education.
Find out more about Goal 4 here
Progress So Far
Over the last 10 years, there has been steady growth in school enrolment rates, particularly with girls, and progress has been made with regards to access to education. In 2018, the primary school completion rate reached 84% which was up from 70% in 2000 and global youth literacy rates (aged 15-24 year olds) was at 92%. However, despite the steady progress in enrolment rates, non-proficiency rates remain extremely high. In 2018, 773 million adults— two-thirds of whom are women — remained illiterate in terms of reading and writing skills.
The Effects Of The Covid-19 Pandemic
The Covid 19 pandemic created the largest disruption to our education systems in history and when the temporary closures of schools were announced, close to 1.6 billion students around the world were out of school at the same time. While the crisis fast tracked innovative techniques in terms of distance learning, the pandemic has far reaching consequences and has exacerbated pre-existing inequalities, particularly in lower income areas.
Many communities depend on educational institutions to provide other essential services, with some families relying on schools to provide free or discounted meals for their children, ensuring they are eating healthy and nutritious food. Furthermore, due to school closures and in the absence of alternatives to childcare, working parents were more likely to miss work to take care of their children, risking huge wage losses.
The Road To Recovery
Without a doubt, the economic fallout from the pandemic will put a huge strain on education budgets, however, the first step on the road to recovery will be to improve basic school infrastructure. This could be adequate sanitation facilities, air filtration within school buildings or ensuring all students have proper access to computers and the internet to support with their studies. It will require huge financial and political commitments and a collaborative effort from us all but the main priority should be to get as many students as possible back to school, recover unfinished learning as a result of the pandemic and support the well-being of both teachers and their pupils.
5 things we can do to help:
• Donate to causes that build schools, supply books and materials or train teachers in remote areas of the world.
• Help to remove some barriers to education by sponsoring local school scholarships, or offering tutoring/homework assistance.
• Donating books and supplies to your local schools – You can always get in touch with them to ask what they need and help organise a supply drive in your local community.
• Write to your government and ask them to place education as a priority and encourage them to make commitments to provide free education to all.
• Buy from businesses who also support educational charities and projects.
Our Social Venture Partners Working Towards Goal 4
VENT for Change is a sustainable stationery company. Proceeds from every VENT product sold go towards global education projects getting children back into school. Through their PENCILS with PURPOSE programme, they have been working with education-based charities to get pencils into the hands of those that need them most. Their pencils are made from recycled CD cases in the UK and they sharpen with a normal sharpener.
Tea People was founded by a husband-wife duo who come from the beautiful tea-growing region of Darjeeling in India. In 2009, they came across a school in their hometown that was in urgent need of some repairs and assistance. The school served the children of tea garden-workers and other impoverished villagers in the area. They came up with a fantastic idea to start a social enterprise, selling specialty tea to fund education projects. Tea People give back 50% of their profits to educational development projects focusing on girls in tea-growing regions, helping students climb the social ladder.
Today, 131 million girls aged 6-17 do not go to school. Chika's are working to change that for the girls of tomorrow. They will give 38,000 girls access to education by 2024 and are working to build schools for children across Africa. Every packet of nuts helps to empower girls in Africa through education.
Dalit Goods Co. empowers and trains the Dalit people in India to make handmade candles. For 3,000 years, the Dalits, formerly known as Untouchable, have been positioned at the bottom of India's society that devalues them from birth. There are 250 million people who are exposed to this injustice and Dalit candles empower these individuals by giving them employment and opportunities. The proceeds go towards providing education and healthcare to the Dalit children.
We hope you enjoyed the latest instalment of our SDG series. If you would like to know more, we recommend checking out the UN SDG website where you can discover more about each individual goals objectives or why not go back to the start of our series and find out more about our social venture partners working towards these goals right now.