According to goal 4, Ensure inclusive and equitable education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Educating children, especially girls, is crucial to eliminating poverty. It is closely related to other sustainable development goals (SDGs) such as health, gender equality, peace and stability.
All developing counties of the world have almost achieved equal enrolment of boys and girls in primary school. This seems to be a great achievement. But in sub-Saharan Africa, only 23 percent of poor rural girls finish primary education. Gender gaps widen significantly in regions in secondary and degree studies. Education is a human right, so that each and every person should get equal education. It helps to empowers individuals and to increase well-being and also contributes to a broader social and economic growths. Improved education accounts for about 50 percent of economic growths in organisation of economic co-operation and development countries over past five decades. So for all girls and boys, men and women, education must be available across their lifetimes.
Relationship of quality education with businesses:
Businesses must understand that education is not only a key factor for poverty eradication but also crucial to develop the future workspace, foster innovation and generate stable and more prosperous societies. They need to take proactive roles in education, using their expert skills and interest in innovation to create shared value. In practice this means raising educational performance levels, shaping aspirations and creating a productive workforce.
A number of companies already use this approach in their education programs. Coca-Cola runs an educational program in the U.K. with Education centres in their factories hosting workshops on manufacturing and innovation. Barclays works with NGO partners worldwide to educate young people with skills needed to find job. H&M has focused on increasing access to early childhood development programs and graduate programs. Tata Consultancy Services runs an adult literacy program in India. IKEA runs a young professional graduate program where they train a young upcoming graduate.
Businesses also can play an important role in addressing the periphery issues that hinder education by aligning operations, employee skills and also investments. For example
- UNICEF has shown that WASH projects in schools can increase school attendance and performance. Unilever’s sanitation program provides hygienic toilet facilities in schools.
- Agroamerica supplemented children’s diets with bananas to combat malnutrition and reinforced the health and hygiene education of families.
- Capgemini provides underprivileged girls in India with academic support and material support in the form if uniforms, clothes and stationery.
Other thing we must remember is that education is a universal issue. An educational program in a developing country will look different to one in Europe. But in both cases, businesses have a lot to give and a lot to gain by harnessing their expertise to secure a quality education for all people. Many organisations promote this cause using a campaign. ONE Organisation recently launched a digital campaign in order to demand education for all girls and women. Poverty is sexist, girls in the poorest countries are less likely to receive an education than boys. #GirlsCount campaign launched to promote or to demand quality and equal education for all.