Photo by Kuanish Reymbaev on Unsplash
February 25, 2022

Quality Education Is A Fundamental Human Right

John Tan, CEO, Doyobi
2 min read

We Are Not On Track To Achieve SDG 4 By 2030.

Ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all is a UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). Every child deserves access to quality education in order to develop the skills, attitudes and creativity to solve problems and avail themselves to economic opportunities.

Unfortunately, the world is a long way off from achieving SDG 4 by 2030. The statistics are grim:

  • COVID-19 has wiped out 20 years of education gains.
  • An additional 101 million or 9% of children in grades 1 through 8 fell below minimum reading proficiency levels in 2020.
  • An estimated 65 per cent of governments in low and lower-middle-income countries have reduced funding for education since the onset of the pandemic.

Large disparities in school completion are likely to get worse.

Between 2010 and 2019, the global primary and secondary school completion rates increased from 82% to 85% and from 46% to 53%, respectively. An upper secondary degree is the basic level of education needed to contribute effectively to society. With secondary school completion rates of just over 50%, nearly half of the children in the world are not expected to be able to meaningfully contribute to society. Just take that in for a second.

School completion rates are particularly low for children from rural areas and low income households. Only a third of countries reached parity in primary school completion between rural and urban students, and just one sixth of countries reached parity between students in the poorest and richest households. Growing poverty and the shift to remote learning as a result of the pandemic makes education less accessible to the most vulnerable groups, further reducing school completion rates.

A renewed commitment to universal free quality education is urgently needed.

Quality education is a public good and a basic right. Every child has the right to be taught by qualified, motivated teachers and learn in schools with the infrastructure and resources necessary for students to develop holistically. Let’s remind ourselves of the commitment we made when SDGs were announced in 2015:

By 2030, every child completes a full cycle of continuous, free quality early childhood, primary, lower and upper secondary education, which enables them to achieve their potential as human beings and to contribute positively as active members of society.

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