Quality Education and its targets are key to realizing many other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). When people are able to receive quality education, they are able to break away from the cycle of poverty. Quality education helps to reduce inequalities and to advance gender equality. It also empowers people everywhere to live more healthy and sustainable lives, as well as to fostering tolerance between people and contributes to more peaceful societies.1 The close linkages between Quality Education and other SDGs are described as below:
GOAL 5: Gender Equality
Education expands opportunities for girls and young women and raises their aspirations for work outside the home. (UNDESA, 2015)
(However) statistical trends that reflect the reality of women in education in Asia-Pacific in the 2018 statistical snapshot shows that we are still far from realizing the SDGs’ promise of “leaving no one behind.”
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
The impact of education on economic growth and decent work is highly discussed. (UNDESA, 2015) In order to contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a whole, UNESCO’s technical and vocational education and training (TVET) Strategy (2016-2021) aims to support the efforts of Member States to enhance the relevance of their TVET systems and to equip all youth and adults with the skills required for employment, decent work, entrepreneurship and lifelong learning.
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality
Education is seen as both a factor that conditions inequalities later in life and a powerful instrument for advancing equity (UNDESA, 2015). Here is an example of “learning inequality across different disadvantaged groups in Nepal”.
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
UNESCO’s efforts to foster innovation and creativity as key drivers for more sustainable and inclusive urban development resulted in a network: 13 Asia-Pacific cities celebrated for innovation, creativity.
GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
Education is a central theme in global efforts to promote a paradigm shift in sustainable consumption and production patterns, to change behaviors and lifestyles and achieve low-carbon societies. (UNDESA, 2015).
As the soft launch of UNESCO’s Plastic Initiative to gather ideas for plastic waste management, particularly by engaging youth, and testing projects in the 152 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, the recent events marked a new commitment to a comprehensive, strategic approach to a worldwide problem.
GOAL 13: Climate Action
Education impart not only the scientific knowledge and technical skills but also foster the attitude, behavior and values that are critical in preventing and reducing the impacts of climate change and extreme events.
GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
Education is widely perceived as a means to develop necessary attitudes and skills for promoting peace, justice and equality that are fundamental to sustainable development. “Unwieldy, challenging to interpret and implement, but essential for peaceful, sustainable development – Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 Target 7 puts people first in the global education agenda.”-- Targeting a better world: APMED2030 puts region on path to achieving SDG 4.7.
How well are the links between education and other sustainable development goals covered in UN flagship reports? A contribution to the study of the science-policy interface on education in the UN system (UNDESA, 2015)
The Asia-Pacific Regional Education for All Report in 2015 points to new education challenges that countries in Asia and the Pacific are facing, in particular, in expanding participation beyond both ends of basic education, namely early childhood care and education (ECCE) and post- basic education, including higher education, technical and vocational training and continuing education, and in focusing on learning for the individual to acquire the skills and competences needed for life and work. For this reason, the Asia- Pacific Statement on Education Beyond 2015 adopted at the Asia-Pacific Regional Education Conference (Bangkok 2014) identifies “lifelong learning for all” as the first of the regional priority action areas.
Quality of education, which had until recently been neglected in the international discourse, has finally gained the deserved attention by all Member States with the adoption of the Education 2030 agenda and the recognition of the emergence of a “learning crisis” around the world. Despite significant increase in access to education at all levels, many children were leaving primary school with poor achievement in basic literacy and numeracy skills. A complex policy challenge, this area of work covers a wide range of policy domains, including curriculum, pedagogy, teacher policies and particularly assessment (of both cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes).2
The Education 2030 agenda, which fully embraces Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) and its corresponding targets aims to, “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. Through the Incheon Declaration adopted at the World Education Forum in May 2015, UNESCO, as the United Nations’ specialized agency for education, was entrusted to lead the Education 2030 agenda with its partners. The roadmap to achieve the ten targets of the education goal is the Education 2030 Framework for Action, adopted in November 2015, which provides guidance to governments and partners on how to turn commitments into action.
Tools and Methodologies
Data on SDG4
Key Publications (Global):
UNESCO Progress on Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship Education: Findings of the 6th Consultation on the implementation of the 1974 Recommendation concerning Education for International Understanding, Co-operation and Peace and Education relating to Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (2012-2016)
Key Publications (Regional):