SDGs and Education
In September 2015, 193 world leaders committed to 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs) to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and protect our planet by 2030. Under SDG 4, the international community has pledged to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” This will require tremendous efforts on the part of all stakeholders, notably governments, donors, and international organizations.
Education is at the heart of the global development agenda, and, as we had hoped, the fourth goal on education is much more ambitious than its predecessor. The Goal 4 Targets for Quality Education, in general, seek to improve education through greater access and equity for all ages of learners as well as improved and safer learning space and expanded number of qualified teachers.
Goal 4 goes even further and through policy-level commitments, recognizes the importance of education in emergencies and the need to address the educational needs of children in conflict and crisis. Target 4.5 (Gender quality and inclusion), in particular, seeks to “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.” In addition, target 4.a (Effective learning environments) seeks to protect educational facilities from attack by providing safe learning environments. Targets 4.5 and 4.a ensure that children in crisis-affected areas are on the SDG4 agenda at national and global levels.