SDG 4 is ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all. In many parts of the world, women, people with disabilities, Indigenous People and victims of conflict do not have access to quality education. Reflect on how, in Canada, “government-funded, church-run schools were set up to eliminate parental involvement in the intellectual, cultural, and spiritual development of Aboriginal children.”[i] This goal aims to ensure that by 2030 everyone has access to equitable basic education so we can understand the world around us, critically reflect on what we see, do, and hear and make informed choices about our health and well-being. When people are able to access quality education, they are able to begin breaking the cycle of poverty, learn about sustainable living, make healthy choices and inform themselves and their communities about important issues. Education unlocks the potential for many other SDGs to be achieved. Improving the quality of education needs to include education about sustainability and our environment. Engaging students to think critically about the world around us and how our practices and policies have an impact on the environment will help sustain the momentum for change. When we don’t include aspects of environmentalism and sustainable development in education models and systems, we miss the opportunity to educate future generations on the important issues of our time. Our ability to pass on important knowledge to improve how we engage with our environment and resources is then limited, hindering future generations. Additionally, it is important to inform students about their rights to accommodations based on disability, religion, family status, and gender identity.
- embed sustainable development into education and lifelong learning (formal and informal)
- understand the value of education as a public good, fundamental human right, and also as a basis for empowerment.
- design educational experiences which help to create a more sustainable, equitable and peaceful world.
- raise awareness of the importance of quality education for all and find ways to motivate others to take action on this issue.
- understand, identify and promote gender equality in education.
- Host a documentary screening. Find films that focus on an aspect of quality education in your discipline. Invite classmates, colleagues and community members to join in on a creative learning experience. An example might be Picture a Scientist, a film about women in science providing perspectives on how to make science more inclusive.
- Start an awareness campaign or initiative that focuses on educating others on the lack of quality education around the world or even at home.
- Work to achieve quality education in your own community. Focus on accessible supplies, accessible buildings and structures, sports equipment and educational opportunities for students. Consider connecting with agencies such as SaskAbilities
- Help others understand how a lack of quality education affects everyone. Design a campaign to give people the opportunity to explore their right to education and learn about others around the world who are denied this right. An example might be the Malala Fund which champions girls’ secondary education around the world.
Media – What are the big issues being reported in your community about education?
Environment – How can we turn education about the environment into action?
Poverty, wealth, and power – How is access to education related to poverty?
Peace and conflict – What is peace and global citizenship education about?
Indigenous Peoples – What are the barriers and opportunities for Indigenous Peoples in education?
Oppression and genocide – How do conflict and oppression impact education?
Health and biotechnology – What can education do for health promotion?
Gender politics – How is education a gendered issue?
Social justice and human rights – How are social justice opportunities and human rights impacted by education?