SDG #4 Quality Education


Education enables upward socioeconomic mobility and is a key to escaping poverty. Over the past decade, major progress was made towards increasing access to education and school enrollment rates at all levels, particularly for girls. Nevertheless, about 260 million children were still out of school in 2018 — nearly one fifth of the global population in that age group. And more than half of all children and adolescents worldwide are not meeting minimum proficiency standards in reading and mathematics. 

In 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, a majority of countries announced the temporary closure of schools, impacting more than 91 per cent of students worldwide. By April 2020, close to 1.6 billion children and youth were out of school. And nearly 369 million children who rely on school meals needed to look to other sources for daily nutrition. 

Never before have so many children been out of school at the same time, disrupting learning and upending lives, especially the most vulnerable and marginalised. The global pandemic has far-reaching consequences that may jeopardize hard won gains made in improving global education.

Investing in education is essential to developing a skilled workforce for the future and improving economic growth. Although the number of children in the world has grown, the number in primary schools has not changed. Even those who do attend school don’t always learn to read and write. Discrimination keeps some children and adults from quality learning opportunities. This occurs despite international affirmation of the right to education.
Business leaders around the world have recognized education as one of the most urgent sustainability challenges.
Constrained educational resources and poverty often limit access to education. Additionally, the skills students learn in school don’t always match up with workplace needs. This contributes to unemployment and deprives businesses of the talent they need and that will drive broader economic growth.
Launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in September 2010, Every Woman Every Child is a global movement that mobilizes and intensifies international and national action by governments, multilaterals, the private sector and civil society to address the major health challenges facing women, children and adolescents around the world.

Why should Business support education?

Investment in education expands business opportunities, creating new markets and customer bases. It also results in a more skilled workforce, increasing productivity and driving business growth. A more educated workforce leads to better wages and more disposable income for consumer spending.
Business leaders around the world have recognized education as one of the most urgent sustainability challenges.
However, business investments in education have often been small, short-term, uncoordinated and unequally distributed. Increasing smart investment in education over the longer term is therefore needed.
I would like to mention some great initiatives already made:


  • MOOC, Massive Open Online Courses, as an innovation of getting education accessible for everyone in the world. MOOC’s are offered by the best Universities and Entities in the world. For free.
  • The UN Global Compact has also joined with a number of partners to advance education around the world. Together with UNESCO, UNICEF and the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, they have created framework to help businesses advance education goals.
  • For education purpose, let’s consider VR, Virtual reality, as a useful tool, and perhaps even a productive enhancement to human interaction, bringing together people from around the world to engage and interact — regardless of social, economic or geographic disparities. In the abstract as well as the applied, modern education is poised to take advantage of this latest tech innovation. In what may turn out to be an immersive education game changer, Google launched its Pioneer Expeditions in September 2015. Under this program, thousands of schools around the world are getting — for one day — a kit containing everything a teacher needs to take their class on a virtual trip: smartphones, a tablet for the teacher to direct the tour, a router that allows Expeditions to run without an Internet connection, a library of 100+ virtual trips (from the Great Wall of China to Mars) and Google Cardboard viewers or Mattel View­Masters that turn smartphones into VR headsets.

Fact & Figure 

  • Enrollment in primary education in developing countries has reached 91 per cent but 57 million primary age children remain out of school.
  • More than half of children that have not enrolled in school live in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • An estimated 50 per cent of out-of-school children of primary school age live in conflict-affected areas.
  • 617 million youth worldwide lack basic mathematics and literacy skills.



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