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SDGs as a Whole

The United Nations (UN) Sustainability Reporting Goals (SDGs) can be regarded as the blueprint for achieving a better and more sustainable future for all. The SDGs include 17 interlinked global goals focusing on different facets of sustainability (sdgs.un.org 2022). This essay aims at specifically discuss about different aspects associated with the SDG 4 Quality Education (SDG 4). First, this essay briefly discusses about the SDGs as a whole focusing on the issues contributed to the arrival of SDGs. Second, it provides a detailed evaluation of the selected SDG which is SDG 4. Third, appropriate evidence of the application of the selected SDG is presented and discussed. The last part provides realistic recommendations on the selected goal and issues.

At the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2012, he SDGs were developed. In 2015, 17 sustainable goals or SDGs were chosen by the UN through voting to set a global goals for sustainable development for the period of 2015 to 2030 (sdgs.un.org 2022). The SDGs were developed in order to address the key sustainability issues that had not been resolved for a long time, such as poverty, planet protection, economic and environmental sustainability, hunger, gender discrimination, lack of education, and others. All these issues in combination led to the emergence of the SDGs (undp.org 2022). The key objective of the SDGs is to generate a set of universal goals that satisfy the urgent political, economic and environmental challenges that the world face. These SDGs aim to handle the key sustainability issues like life-threatening starvation and poverty, prevention of deadly diseases, expansion of primary education for all children, and other sustainability development priorities (africa.undp.org 2022).

The aim of the SDGs for enhancing the quality of life for all and creating a better world for all humanity that is built on justice and human rights can be regarded as a commendable ethical aspiration towards a good life and humane society. At present, only 0.2% companies has a strong alliance with the UN SDGs, and equal progress is not made by the companies operating in all segments. These companies should consider the aspect that SDG disclosures are required to reveal how they are addressing the key sustainability issues (weforum.org 2022). Even in the presence of so many advantages, these SDGs have been facing criticism for being inconsistent, and difficult in quantifying, implementing and monitoring. Questions have been raised by the critiques on measuring and monitoring the SDGs which have been broadly framed (Swain 2018).

Evaluation of SDG 4

The main issue in SDG 4 is quality education. As per the estimations, among 59 million children, 1 in 5 of them had dropped out from the schools or colleges. As suggested by more recent trends, 2 in 5 of out-of-school will never attend school (jointsdgfund.org 2022). This is a clear gap in receiving quality education that should be bridged. Another key issue is the intense decrease in the literacy rate. The progress in providing quality education has been facing tough challenge in the developing countries because of the factors like high poverty level, armed conflicts and other emergency situations (unoosa.org 2022). These are the main detriments to attain inclusive and quality education.

The SDG 4 aims to ensure the inclusive and reasonable quality education while promoting lifelong chances to learn for all. This goal can be used for ensuring that free primary and secondary schooling is competed by all girls and boys by 2030. Furthermore, the UN can use this goal as an opportunity for providing equivalent access to reasonable occupational training, to remove inequalities in gender and wealth, and to achieve common access to a quality higher education (unoosa.org 2022). Therefore, SDG 4 can be used as a vehicle to ensure sustainable development by attaining inclusive and quality education.

As per the Sustainable Development Goals Report 2020, before COVID-19 pandemic, there was a decline in the proportion of children and youth out of primary and secondary school to 19% in 2010 and 17% in 2018 from 26% in 2000. In 2018, the number of children and youth who were still out of school was 258 million; and three quarters of this population belong to Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. At the primary level, more barriers are faced by the firms than boys. Worldwide, 5.5 million more girls in the primary school age than boys were out of school. In sub-Saharan Africa, there is more prominent disadvantages faced by girls as 128 girls for every 100 boys were out of primary school in 2018 (unstats.un.org 2022).

The SDG 4 has both ethical and sustainability grounds. It is because this goal aims at enhancing the quality of life and creating a better world for all by ensuring that all children receive inclusive and quality education. In this way, it also contributes towards the overall sustainability development as lack of education is a key sustainability issue. However, this goal has not been able to achieve its target completely as there are many boys and girls in the developing nations who are not receiving the inclusive and quality education. It raises question on the credibility of this goal to achieve the targets by 2030.

Evidence of SDG Application

The SDG 4 has 10 targets, and the overall aim of these targets is to ensure inclusive and quality education for all (sdg4education2030.org 2022). Amongst all these indicators, two of them are 4.1 and 4.5.

Target 4.1 is about providing free primary and secondary education. The aim is to make it sure that free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education is completed by all girls and boys by the year 2030 which will lead to pertinent and actual learning outcomes (sdg4education2030.org 2022). It includes the provision of twelve years of equitable and quality primary and secondary education that is free and funded by public; and nine of such education should be compulsory without any discrimination.

Target 4.5 is about the elimination of all discrimination in education. It aims at eradicating gender inequalities in education while ensuring equal access to all level of occupational training and education for the susceptible that include the children in susceptible situations, indigenous people and persons with disabilities by the year 2030 (pwc.com 2022). Inclusion and equity ensures that the access to inclusive equitable quality education is given to all people regardless of the aspects like age, sex, race, colour, religion, and others. Gender equality ensures that higher quality education should be equally enjoyed by all girls and boys, and women and men.

In order to discuss the evidence of the SDG application, the United Kingdom (UK) is considered. The 2 evidences are discussed below:

The UK founded the Department of International Development (DFID) in 1997, one of its responsibilities is to secure bilateral and multinational aid for education. The DFID formed its 2018 Education Policy named ‘Get Children Learning’ (GLC), and it shapes a strong vision of educational development in the areas of the quality of teacher, system reform and supporting the most marginalised groups. Moreover, the UK are able in maintaining its status as a leading donor in education, and the country is one of the biggest donors of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), which is s major funding mechanism for global educations supporting countries in developing strong national education systems. In 2017, £225 million was pledged by the UK to GPE over three years (bond.org.uk 2022).

In the Global Disability Summit (GDS) in 2018, the UK showed its support and commitment towards providing better education for the persons with disabilities by announcing the Inclusive Education Initiative (IEI) along with strategies for Disability Inclusive Development. The new disability strategy of the DFID exemplifies a determined vision for inclusive education. In 2016, £30 million was pledged by the UK to the Education Cannot Wait fund. In 2018, the Safe School Declaration was signed by the UK to protect the schools and universities from Military Use During Armed Conflict. The UK is one of the prominent nations on girl’s education through launching the Girl’s Education Campaign and the Platform for Girl’s Education. These initiatives are supported by the former Foreign Secretary’s commitment of supporting 1 million vulnerable girls for achieving twelve years of quality education in 2030 through an aid of £212 million (bond.org.uk 2022).

The above analysis discusses two evidences of the SDG 4 application in the UK. These evidences show that the UK have applied this goal by taking many initiatives. The first evidence is linked with Target 4.1 that is free primary and secondary education. The UK’s donation of £225 million indicates the commitment of this country to provide free primary and secondary education. In achieving this objective, the DFID assists the UK Government by accumulating bilateral and multinational aid. Furthermore, the country’s contribution in the programs like GLC and GPE shows that the country is committed towards achieving this target under the SDG 4.

The second evidence is linked with Target 4.5 that is the elimination of all discrimination in education. Pledging £30 million for the Education Cannot Wait fund and £212 million for providing quality education for vulnerable girls show that the UK want to eradicate all the discriminations in accessing inclusive and quality education. The UK Government’s other initiative such as IEI and GDS demonstrates that the country is highly committed towards ensuring that all people irrespective of sex, age, religion, financial status, disability and others can get the access of inclusive and quality education.

From an ethical perspective, the sustainability initiatives of the UK towards achieving the SDG 4 help in enhancing the quality of life and creating a better world for all humanity by ensuring free primary and secondary education is accessible by all people in the absence of any discrimination (Seto-Pamies and Papaoikonomou 2020). There are evidences that prove that the UK have taken numerous initiatives to ensure quality education. However, there are many areas in these initiatives where the country can bring improvements by increasing the number of these initiatives and by increasing the funds pledged.

Progress, achievement or failure in the SDG 4 can affect and influence other SDGs. Success in achieving or progress in the SDG 4 will lead to no poverty, zero hunger, reduction in inequalities, and others. These would lead to achieve the SDGs like 1, 2, 5, 8, 10 and others (Pedersen 2018).

Conclusion

The above analysis shows that quality education is the main issue in the SDG 4, and this particular issue can be addressed by the goal by ensuring inclusive and quality education for all in the absence of any type of discrimination. Analysis also shows that the UK have taken many initiatives to apply the SDG 4, and these initiatives are consistent with Target 4.1 and 4.5 of this goal. Even though many companies and countries have actively adopted many initiatives to achieve the SDG 4, a large number of companies and nations are yet to strongly align with the initiatives of this SDG. There is a strong to undertake further initiatives to improve or bring progress in this SDG.

Notwithstanding progress, it is not possible to achieve this goal by 2030. Before COVID-19 hit world, it was projected that the number of children who would be out of school is 200 million, and the upper secondary education would be completed by 60% of young people by 2030. Furthermore, the pandemic has destroyed 20 years of education gains. A vast majority of the student population of the world have been largely affected by the provision school closure to stop spreading the virus. As a result, the education crisis is being deepened by the pandemic leading to an increase in the prevailing educational disparities.

In order to achieve the goal by addressing the issues, it is recommended to have a clear action plan that will help in eliminating the issues. There is a need of a greater commitment towards investments and actions in inclusive, quality and multisectoral primary and secondary education. The nations are recommended to secure a better and more financing for primary and secondary education. If needed, a nation is recommended to work with other countries, teacher unions and teachers for developing a clear action plan to attain the goal.

References

Background of the Sustainable Development Goals | UNDP in Africa 2022. Available at: https://www.africa.undp.org/content/rba/en/home/sustainable-development-goals/background.html (Accessed: 25 March 2022).

Bond.org.uk. 2022. SDG 4: Progress, gaps and recommendations for the UK. Available at: https://www.bond.org.uk/sites/default/files/sdg4_progress_gaps_and_recommendations_for_the_uk.pdf (Accessed: 25 March 2022).

Division, U. 2022 — SDG Indicators, Unstats.un.org. Available at: https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/report/2020/goal-04/ (Accessed: 25 March 2022).

Goal 4: Quality education 2022. Available at: https://www.jointsdgfund.org/sustainable-development-goals/goal-4-quality-education (Accessed: 25 March 2022).

Pedersen, C.S., 2018. The UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) are a great gift to business!. Procedia Cirp, 69, pp.21-24.

Pwc.com. 2022. AN ANALYSIS OF THE GOALS AND TARGETS. [online] Available at: <https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/sustainability/publications/assets/sdgs-business-reporting-analysis.pdf> [Accessed 25 March 2022].

Seto-Pamies, D. and Papaoikonomou, E., 2020. Sustainable development goals: A powerful framework for embedding ethics, CSR, and sustainability in management education. Sustainability, 12(5), p.1762.

Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) | Education within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 2022. Available at: https://sdg4education2030.org/the-goal (Accessed: 25 March 2022).

Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education 2022. Available at: https://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/space4sdgs/sdg4.html#:~:text=Sustainable%20Development%20Goal%204%20aims,and%20secondary%20schooling%20by%202030. (Accessed: 25 March 2022).

Swain, R.B., 2018. A critical analysis of the sustainable development goals. In Handbook of sustainability science and research (pp. 341-355). Springer, Cham.

THE 17 GOALS | Sustainable Development (2022). Available at: https://sdgs.un.org/goals (Accessed: 25 March 2022).

THE 17 GOALS | Sustainable Development 2022. Available at: https://sdgs.un.org/goals (Accessed: 25 March 2022).

UN Sustainable Development Goals: How companies stack Up 2022. Available at: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/how-aligned-are-un-companies-with-their-sustainable-development-goals/ (Accessed: 25 March 2022).

Undp.org. 2022. What are the Sustainable Development Goals? Available at: https://www.undp.org/sustainable-development-goals (Accessed: 25 March 2022).

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My Assignment Help. 'An Evaluation Of The SDG 4: Quality Education' (My Assignment Help, 2022) <https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/acc3145-ethics-and-sustainability/united-nations-sustainable-file-A1E07F3.html> accessed 20 July 2024.

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