How Important Is Quality Education?

How Important Is Quality Education?

Quality Education was voted among 160,000+ young people as the most burning issue globally says YouthSpeak Global Report 2016 (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 it seems like the world agrees with this narrative. Why is it still among the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 even though we all have agreed on its importance for a while now?

Unfortunately, there are some serious issues around the globe when we talk about the Quality of Education and its current state. I have some numbers for you to meditate on below. Some statistics to learn about the current state of Quality Education all over the world based on SDG 4 Targets (3) follow:

  • 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)

Let alone the moral issues of competing for work in our soon to be AI-controlled future, how can those kids have any chance in the drastically changing external environment of modern life?

  • 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 until later on? With higher odds than others, they are doomed to fail in school and life.

  • 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 a chance against the free/easy movements of the better-educated workforce due to globalization? Are they doomed to remain in the lower strata of societies?

  • 4.4 Increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills for employment:

On proficiency in computer skills, even among OECD countries, “only 5% of the population reached level three – those most proficient in computer-related activities.” (7)

While we have countries with completely digital e-governments and in some parts of the world with an entire C (connected)-generation already in adulthood, how can the vast majority of the world live in this rapidly changing technological environment, or even make decisions over the unforeseeable future, if many of them do not even know how to turn on a computer or perform basic computer tasks like writing an email or using a touchpad?

  • 4.5 Eliminate inequalities including gender, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations:

One billion people are “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 so as their physical health makes it a must to care for them?

  • 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 cannot even read or count?

We are the privileged ones, who can independently open this digital platform and read this article, and many more we can access online. Can you imagine your life without free access to such information? Or accessing it without having studied the education you did? How different would your life be, and what consequences would your family face? Do not even start to think about your near-future relevance on this planet concerning the rapid increase in the use of infotech and biotech!

With that in mind, read the last target and sense your responsibility to make the world a better place:

  • 4.7 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 culture’s contribution to sustainable development.

Calls to Action:

  1. Read more on the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform.
  2. Discuss the following topic with your sympathizers: How would our world change if we were to reach all SDG 4 targets? What are the consequences of the lack of Quality Education to those who have no access to it? How come we understand the importance of SDG 4, but still have giant gaps in delivering its targets?
  3. Find a project and reach out to the host entity to support them with advice or funds to deliver it, especially West African entities as there is an urgent need to provide SDG-related changes there.
  4. Sponsor and motivate someone in your world to take on a Global Volunteer project with AIESEC. I suggest Creative Mind in the Benin Republic.

– Krisztina Kapuvari

  1. YouthSpeak Global Report 2016 (Page 31)
  2. Education Quotes
  3. Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform SDG 4 Targets
  4. Out-Of-School Children and Youth
  5. Early Childhood Development Is Essential to Delivering the SDGs
  6. Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (Page 19)
  7. The Four Levels of Computer Skills, and the Surprising Number of Adults Who Fall Short
  8. Children With Disabilities Face the Longest Road to Education
  9. List of Countries by Literacy Rate

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of #WAYSWF.

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