21 May 2018

#SDGsinAcademia: Goal 4

As part of the ongoing campaign on the Sustainable Development Goals carried out by the United Nations, United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) is presenting a weekly series of articles on #SDGSinAcademia that highlights the importance of higher education in achieving the Goals. Featuring additional sources for use by faculty and students alike, this series is intended to inspire action on the SDGs and showcase activities and initiatives of UNAI member institutions.

21 May 2018 - This week we are featuring in our #SDGsinAcademia series Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all


  • 4.1 By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes 
  • 4.2 By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education
  • 4.3 By 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university
  • 4.4 By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship
  • 4.5 By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations 
  • 4.6 By 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy
  • 4.7 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 
  • 4.A Build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all 
  • 4.B 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 
  • 4.C By 2030, substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers, including through international cooperation for teacher training in developing countries, especially least developed countries and small island developing States

What are UNAI member institutions doing about Goal 4? Here are some examples:

  • Antonio Meneghetti Faculdade (Brazil) promoted in 2017 an international symposium on Contemporary Pedagogy: Responsibility and Training for the Future's Society, held in Paris to talk about the future of higher education considering the SDGs and the responsibilities of the youth regarding the SDGs.

  • Kampala International University (Uganda) is currently undertaking research activities regarding issues of education in selected refugee settlements in Uganda, in order to propose an action plan based on the results obtained through the study.

  • Mount Kenya University (Kenya) is conducting, with a focus on the Naivasha Maximum Security Prison, a research project to establish the effectiveness of offline interaction and e-learning materials on inmate education and to inform policy makers on how prison education in Kenya needs to be carried out.

  • Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (Spain) has funded the project eN-Señas in Nicaragua to increase the use of technologies of information and communication for a more inclusive education, in particular within the context of social intervention with persons with hearing impairments.

  • Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Spain) organized the course The Agenda 2030 and the SDGs: Towards a holistic, inclusive and critical approach of your teaching, which aimed to incorporate the perspective of the SDGs to teaching practice and to foster a model of education for sustainable development.  

  • Al-Farabi Kazakh National University (Kazakhstan) jointly with the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) organized at UN Headquarters in New York a conference to discuss the challenges of the formation of global citizenship, especially among the younger generation and the role of universities in this process to build bridges between cultures.

  • Assam Don Bosco University (India) faculty and students initiated an adult literacy programme in the Hatimura village. The weekly sessions helped illiterate women to understand the study requirements of their children and gave them the self-confidence to walk into government or business offices and do their work independently.

  • The American International University - Bangladesh (Bangladesh) arranged a seminar with the former representative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizaton to Bangladesh, in order to discuss different issues related to quality education for all.  

  • Kobe City University of Foreign Studies (Japan) professors have supported faculty development at different academic institutions, organizing webinars and seminars, to facilitate the use of Model United Nations as a mean to promote global citizenship using instructional strategies reversing traditional learning environments.

  • Meiji Gakuin University (Japan) is participating in the UNHCR-Refugee Higher Education Program (RHEP) to support refugees who live in Japan enabling them to complete a four-year undergraduate degree programme, with the tuition fees and other expenses covered by the university. This year the institution is welcoming its first RHEP student.

  • St. Martin University (United States) has developed a Teaching English in Vietnam programme, which fosters intercultural dialogue and global citizenship through education. An assistant professor and four students of Education and Science majors went to Vietnam to teach English and Science lessons to high school students.

Here you can take a look to a selection of the Activity Reports submitted by UNAI member institutions.


The following resources can help improving your knowledge and understanding about Goal 4 in particular and the SDGs in general:

  • This is a comprehensive research guide made by the United Nations Library in Geneva listing resources about the SDGs in general and about each one of the Goals, including books and articles (some of which are fully available on line free of charge), UN documents such as resolutions and reports and additional resources.
  • The SDG Fund has created this online library featuring over 1,000 online publications. The publications are categorized by the Goals they represent, by geographical regions they relate to and by authors, to facilitate easy searchability. Each publication also has a short summary attached to it which helps with keyword searches.
  • This is an initiative supported by UNDP, UN-HABITAT and the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments, which offers a selection of tools such as concept notes, papers, case studies, compilation of best practices and guides providing contextual and practical information about the SDGs.
  • This is a guide entitled Getting Started with the Sustainable Development Goals intended for stakeholders and designed by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) to serve as an initial basis for implementing the SDGs.
  • This guide entitled Getting Started with the SDGs in Universities also developed by the SDSN intends to help higher education institutions to accelerate their contributions to the SDGs highlighting the important role they have in implementing the SDGs through their teaching, research, operations and leadership, and providing practical guidance and examples.
  • This guide entitled Sustainable Development Goals - Human Response Alignments features the human element of change and the human response corresponding to each of the SDGs in order to quicken the global conversation about vital issues and to encourage the movement that supports the vision of the SDGs.

Sustainable Development Goals Explained: Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goals Explained: Quality Education
UNICEF’s Associate Director of Education Jo Bourne talks about what progress has been achieved in the past 15 years on access to education, why this goal is important not just for children and young people, and how quality education benefits societies as a whole.