The Sustainable Development Goal 4

Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Education is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: it is identified as a stand-alone goal (Sustainable Development Goal 4) and is also present as targets under other SDGs on health, growth and employment, sustainable consumption and production, and climate change.

SDG4 in a nutshell:

  • Ensuring lifelong learning opportunities for all, from early childhood to adult education;
  • Ensuring equity, inclusion and gender equality;
  • Ensuring effective learning and the acquisition of relevant knowledge, skills and competencies;
  • Ensuring the relevance of learning, in terms of vocational and technical skills for decent work as well as for global citizenship in a plural and interconnected world.

SDG4’s 3 underlying principles:

  • Education is a fundamental human right and an enabling right. To fulfil this right, countries must ensure universal equal access to inclusive and equitable quality education and learning, which should be free and compulsory, leaving no one behind irrespective of their gender, disabilities, social and economic situation. Education shall aim at the full development of the human personality, and promote mutual understanding, tolerance, friendship and peace. Education should go beyond basic literacy and numeracy skills, and equip individuals with creative, critical thinking and collaborative skills, while building curiosity, courage and resilience.
  • Education is a public good, of which the state is the duty bearer. Education is a shared societal endeavor, which implies an inclusive process of public policy formulation and implementation, in which civil society, teachers and educators, the private sector, communities, families, youth and children have important roles. The role of the state is essential in setting and regulating standards and norms.
  • Gender equality is linked to the right to education for all. Achieving gender equality requires a right-based approach that ensures that boys and girls, women and men not only gain access to and complete education cycles, but are empowered equally in and through education.

Source: UNESCO’s Education 2030 , Incheon Declaration and Framework for Action