Educating children, especially girls, is crucial to eliminating poverty. It is closely linked to other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as health, gender equality, peace, and stability. UN agencies and businesses. We have also seen numerous corporate community investment programmes focused on education, not only to equip future workforces, but also to equip society with the means to economically progress. And yet still people are excluded from society and employment through a lack of or poor education.
The second Millennium Development Goal (MDG) had a narrower focus on primary education than its successor SDG. Whilst progress has been made on this target with enrolment in primary education in developing regions at 90 percent in 2010, 58 million children of primary school-age were still out of school in 2012. That’s one in ten kids that don’t get a basic education.
SDG #4 builds on the MDGs by setting broader and more ambitious targets to:
- Ensure access to early childhood development
- Increase the number of youths and adults with relevant skills for employment
- Achieve equal access for men and women to university education
- Ensure all youths achieve literacy and numeracy
- Provide inclusive learning environments for all, regardless of gender and disability
We need to consider every connotation of the goal, to be successful in ensuring inclusive quality education. It’s about delving further into associated educational issues and improving the quality of education with teacher training, providing educational materials, ensuring school children don’t go hungry and improving sanitation in schools. What’s the point in having access to education if you are so hungry you can’t even concentrate, you can’t afford the bus fare, or you catch diseases from school facilities?
There are many definitions of global education which will guide our analysis, research and advocacy on education accross the world.
The Maastricht Global Education Declaration (2002) States:
Global education is education that opens people’s eyes and minds to the realities of the globalised world and awakens them to bring about a world of greater justice, equity and Human Rights for all.
Global education is understood to encompass Development Education, Human Rights Education,
Education for Sustainability, Education for Peace and Conflict Prevention and Intercultural Education; is the global dimension of Education for Citizenship.
Various international documents are related to the development of the concept of global education.
We have listed some of them because each, in its own way, focuses and enriches this approach:
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Educating shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
Article 26, United Nations, general Conference, San Francisco, 10 December 1948:
Recommendation concerning Education for International Understanding, Co-operation and Peace and Education relating to Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
UNESCO, General Conference, Paris, 19 November 1974
What is global education?
Agenda 21, Chapter 36: Promoting Education, Public Awareness and Training
Education, including formal education, public awareness and training should be recognized as a process by which human beings and societies can reach their fullest potential. Education is critical for promoting sustainable development and improving the capacity of the people to address environment and development issues.
United Nations Conference on Environment &. Development, Rio de Janeiro, 3 to 14 June 1992
UNESCO - Declaration and Integrated Framework of Action on Education for Peace, Human Rights and Democracy. Paris 1995
Introduction: Education has to develop the capacity of appreciation of the value of freedom and the capacities needed for facing the challenges associated to it. This means to educate citizens for resolving difficult and uncertain situations, to build in them aptitudes for autonomy and individual responsibility. This is linked with the appreciation of the value of civic involvement and the capacity of association with other persons for resolving problems and for working towards the building of an equitable, peaceful and democratic society.
UNESCO, General Conference, Paris, November 1995
United Nations Millennium Declaration, 2000,
Chapter: Values and principles
We belief that the central challenge we face today is to ensure that globalization becomes a positive force for the world’s people. While globalisation offers great opportunities, at present its benefits are very unevenly shared, while its costs are unevenly distributed. We recognize that developing countries and countries with economies in transition face special difficulties in responding to this central challenge. Thus, only through broad and sustained efforts to create a shared future, based upon our common humanity in all its diversity, can globalisation be made fully inclusive and equitable.
Resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations, New York, 8 September 2000
United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development 2005-2014
The basic vision of Education for Sustainable Development is a world where everyone has the opportunity to benefit from education and learn the values, behaviour and lifestyles required for a sustainable future and for positive societal transformation.
To help people gain understanding, acquire knowledge, and develop skills for living in a globally interdependent and culturally diverse world.
Facts and Figures
- Enrolment in primary education in developing countries has reached 91 per cent but 57 million 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
- 103 million youth worldwide lack basic literacy skills, and more than 60 per cent of them are women