Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4 or Global Goal 4) is about quality education. SDG 4 has ten targets which are measured by 11 indicators. The seven “outcome-oriented targets” are: free primary and secondary education; equal access to quality pre-primary education; affordable technical, vocational and higher education; increased number of people with relevant skills for financial success; elimination of all discrimination in education; universal literacy and numeracy; and education for sustainable development and global citizenship. The three “means of achieving targets” are: build and upgrade inclusive and safe schools; expand higher education scholarships for developing countries; and increase the supply of qualified teachers in developing countries.
SDG 4 aims to provide children and young people with quality and easy access to education plus other learning opportunities. One of its targets is to achieve universal literacy and numeracy. A major component in acquiring knowledge and valuable skills in the learning environment. Hence, the urgent need to build more educational facilities and also upgrade the present ones to provide safe, inclusive, and effective learning environments for all.
The prevalence of extreme poverty, insurgency, communal conflicts, and other factors has significantly reduced the progress in many developing countries. Children from poor households have a higher probability of dropping out of school than their counterparts from rich backgrounds. Disparities between rural and urban areas remain high. In Western Asia and North Africa, the ongoing armed conflict has seen an increase in the number of children who are not attending school. Sub-Saharan Africa made the greatest progress in primary school enrolment among all developing regions – from 52 percent in 1990, up to 78 percent in 2012, but large disparities still remain.
“Education for All” has been a popular slogan and has been given attention through different international development courses ever since 1990.
It was considered critical at the inception of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and tagged SDG 4. Education is seen as a force for sustainable development, nation-building and peace. Children and young people who gain certain skills such as reading, writing, or counting are more likely to have a better future than their peers who lack these skills. The world is changing and globalization requires the world population to quickly adapt and learn to work with newer technologies.
The role of education in ensuring sustainable development is not limited to developing regions; but the whole world at large. The major aim of Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) is to provide an inclusive and high-quality education that will improve the learner’s standard of living and the community’s future.
At the end of 2019, there were still millions of children out of school. The closure of schools in 2020 as part of the measures taken to slow the spread of COVID-19 is having an adverse impact on the learning outcome. It has affected more than 90 percent of the world’s student population, with an estimated 1.5 billion children and young people having disrupted access to education. It is estimated that at least a third of the world’s children do not have the technology they need to participate in remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting widespread school closures.