How Millennials can address the fourth Sustainable Development Goal
It goes without saying that guaranteeing access to education means lifting people out of poverty, giving them a chance at finding better jobs and building better lives. A fair education for everyone would bring to a deeper understanding of the world and provide better opportunities for everyone, especially girls. Therefore, SDG number 4 aims at ensuring everyone has access to an education, no matter who they are or where they are.
In contrast with its predecessor MDG (Millennium Development Goal), which focused mainly on primary education, this SDG is set on the MDG but has definitely broader and more ambitious targets. In fact, while some progress has definitely been made by the previous MDG, with enrollment in primary schools in developing regions at 90 percent in 2010, 58 million children of primary school age were still out of school in 2012. That means that one out of ten kids still doesn’t get a basic education.
The biggest hurdle that SDG 4 has to overcome today is probably gender based. In fact, about one-third of countries in the developing regions have not yet achieved gender parity in primary education. In Sub-Saharan Africa, Oceania and Western Asia, girls still have to face great difficulties to enter both primary and secondary school. The impediment to an education then translates into a lack of access to skills and the impossibility for young women to find a decent job.
Considering that education is crucial for the development of the future workforce, some businesses and companies have already made a step forward with very much needed educational campaigns. For example, Coca Cola runs an educational program in the UK with Education Centers in their factories, hosting workshops on manufacturing and innovation. Barclays partners with NGOs around the world to provide young people with skills necessary to find employment. And Tata Consultancy Services runs an adult literacy program in India.
These are just a few examples and although none of us can personally impact as many people as a big firm such as Coca Cola can, there are still a few things that we can do to make a difference:
- As a student, you can encourage your peers to attend classes and spread awareness on the importance of education in your community.
- You can volunteer as a tutor in your community, or decide to give your life a significant turn and go teach abroad, where it’s most needed.
- You can get involved with the Malala Fund, and support Malala in her fight to grant all girls an education.
- You can get involved with the UN Girls Education Initiative and get excellent resources and insights on how to ensure inclusive and equitable education for all.
- You can follow and get involved with “Teach For All”, a global network that develops leadership in classrooms and communities to make sure that all children can fulfill their potential.
As you can see, there is a lot more that we can do to help than what we think. So stop thinking, and take action! And if you’re already involved with any kind of activity towards Goal 4, join our competition here: https://goo.gl/5LUfP2 .
Cover cartoon credit: Sergio Algeri/GYV