Goal Four: Access to Education


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“There are still 124 million children who aren’t in school, they won’t ever see a classroom,” Julia Gillard of Global Partnership for Education said, “These statistics mean we are failing the children of the world. We need to accept that responsibility.” 

Goal four ensures inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all which specifically aims to:

  • By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development
  • Build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, nonviolent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all
  • By 2020, substantially expand globally the number of scholarships available to developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States and African countries, for enrolment in higher education, including vocational training and information and communications technology, technical, engineering and scientific programmes, in developed countries and other developing countries

…plus much more!

Though it’s been an integral part of the sustainable development agenda, barriers remain.  


Special Adviser to UN Secretary-General, Amina J Mohammed said, “Should we forget our girls and women just because they live in areas of conflict? Absolutely not.” 

The Next Chapter in Global Education panel discussion focused on what’s being done to make sure no child is left behind. 


Mariéme Jamme of Africa Gathering, mentioned how beneficial creating technology centers in Africa are, specifically Uganda.  

However, she emphasized the newest gadgets and resources aren’t always necessary. 

“Sometimes, it’s not just a device but a safe place she can go,” Jamme said. 

The reality is millions are not getting equal opportunities to learn. Save The Children youth delegates shared what their current reality is in The World We Want. 


Zheng Booing, 14, expressed his discontent with how climate change and pollution are affecting everyday activities. 

“We cannot have physical education class, and it’s really unhealthy to play sports outside and we cannot play happily,” Booing said.  

From refugees being forced to flee their homes with families to others having to take on responsibilities as defined by cultural norms, such as child marriage in Tanzania, children are simply not getting to be children anymore. 


Precious Banda, 16, mentioned how education in her country is impeded by accessibility, inequality, poor healthcare, and extreme poverty. 

“I am from a rural district of Zambia called Lufwanyama and it’s the second largest district in Zambia but it’s sad to say [it] only has two secondary schools,” Banda said, “which means us children have to cover long distances for us to obtain school.” 

Banda went on to explain schools are very expensive, making it difficult for most parents to send their children.  

“The leaders are very corrupt, they only give sponsorship to the people, their relatives only,” said Banda. “I don’t even know how I am going to get into university.”  

She is not alone.  

As part of the U.S. government's commitment to Let Girls Learn, First Lady Michelle Obama and the Peace Corps are working together enabling greater access to education around the world. https://letgirlslearn.peacecorps.gov 

United Nations Foundation President Kathy Calvin said, “Girls are one of the most powerful forces for change in the world: When their rights are recognized, their needs are met, and their voices are heard, they drive positive change in their families, their communities, and the world.”  http://www.unfoundation.org/blog/celebrating-girls.html 

People are encouraged to spread awareness with #62MillionGirls for girls not given a chance to realize their potential.  


How do we overcome present challenges to ensure a life with hope and dignity for all?

As Kumi Naidoo of Greenpeace International said, “Change depends on ordinary people to have the courage to say enough is enough.” 

Meet Vivienne Harr, an 11-year-old who can teach us a thing or two about social good. From a lemonade stand to an app downloaded by hundreds of thousands of users, Harr took a stand to put her passion into action.


“I didn’t think about all the reasons I couldn’t,” Harr said. “I thought about all the reasons I must.”

Whether it’s using your voice to tweet or getting out there in the community – it counts.

I’m currently a volunteer curriculum writer at Success for Life through Reading, a program with a mission to establish a love for reading, and instill values for the future in preschoolers. I’m mentioning this because even though what some of us may be doing is local, these efforts have global impact. https://ecv.unt.edu/success-life-through-reading/about

It is two weeks post-Summit, and two days after International Day of the Girl. 



Even though more than 1.5 billion impressions have trickled down into smaller conversations about different issues, we, change-makers, must not forget the reason millions came together around the globe in September: sustainable development goals (SDGs). 



Tell everyone.




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