The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is an ambitious, aspirational and universal agenda. When it adopted the new Agenda in September 2015, the international community recognized that education was essential for the success of all 17 of its goals. Ambitions for education are essentially captured in Sustainable Development Goal 4 which aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.
Goal 4 “Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning”.
Obtaining a quality education is the foundation to improving people’s lives and sustainable development.
The targets within Goal 4 are:
- 4.1 By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and Goal-4 effective learning outcomes
- 4.2 By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and preprimary education so that they are ready for primary education
- 4.3 By 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university
- 4.4 By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship
- 4.5 By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations
- 4.6 By 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy
- 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 of culture’s contribution to sustainable development
- 4.a Build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, nonviolent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all
- 4.b By 2020, substantially expand globally the number of scholarships available to developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States and African countries, for enrolment in higher education, including vocational training and information and communications technology, technical, engineering and scientific programmes, in developed countries and other developing countries
- 4.c By 2030, substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers, including through international cooperation for teacher training in developing countries, especially least developed countries and small island developing states
Accompanying the Sustainable development Framework is the Incheon Declaration (pdf) adopted by around 1600 participants at the World Education Forum held in Incheon, Republic of Korea in May 2015. The Declaration represents the firm commitment of countries and the global education community to a single, renewed education agenda.
A Education 2030 Framework for Action (pdf) was adopted in November 2015 by UNESCO together with Member States, which outlines how to translate global commitments into practice at a country, regional and global level.
In this article is highlighted in bold the target 4.7. This target emphasises that all learners shall acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, and refers specifically to Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).