Are you in or at school?
How is it that you are there?
Do you know of anyone that is not in school?
Do you expect them to be there?
Are they of your age or not?
I beg we set off our conversation from this point
Because education is the key that will allow many other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved.
When people are able to get quality education they can break from the cycle of poverty. Education therefore helps to reduce inequalities and to reach gender equality.
It also empowers people everywhere to live more healthy and sustainable lives.
Education is also crucial to fostering tolerance between people and contributes to more peaceful societies.
That said, the goal from the desk of the Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations is to ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.
You may ask…. So through education, people can get better jobs and have better lives?
One may say yes and one may say no. Speaking from the angle of statistics, education reduces inequality.
Using data for 114 countries in the 1985–2005 period, one extra year of education is associated with a reduction of the Gini coefficient by 1.4 percentage points.
Some people might say, “But hasn’t a lot of progress been made over the last few years on education?”
Yes, enrolment in primary education in developing countries has reached 91%, give or take. If you love your maths, according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS Data Centre), between 2000 and 2012, the percentage of out-of-school children among primary-school-age children has declined from 40% to 22% in sub-Saharan Africa and from 20% to 6% in South Asia.
“Where are people struggling the most to have access to education?”
More than half of children that have not enrolled in school live in sub-Saharan Africa, which makes it the region with the largest number of out-of-school children in the world.
And this region has a very young population so it will have to provide basic education to 444 million children between the ages of 3 and 15 in 2030, which is 2.6 times the numbers enrolled today.
The maths get very interesting here….keep in mind the number of years we have left till 2030!
“Are there groups that have a more difficult access to education?”
Yes, women and girls are one of these groups. The differently abled, too….among many others.
About one-third of countries in the developing regions have not achieved gender parity in primary education.
In sub-Saharan Africa, Oceania and Western Asia, girls still face barriers to entering both primary and secondary school.
These disadvantages in education also translate into lack of access to skills and limited opportunities in the labour market for young women.
Most of all, is there something we can do? Yes, there is! A lot, actually.
- Ask our governments to place education as a priority in both policy and practice.
- Lobby our governments to make firm commitments to provide free primary school education to all, including vulnerable or marginalized groups.
- Encourage the private sector to invest resources in the development of educational tools and facilities
- Urge Non-Governmental Organisations to partner with youth and other groups to foster the importance of education within local communities
I feel lucky already! Are you?