19 November 2018

#SDGsinAcademia: SDG Hub for Goal 4

As part of the ongoing campaign on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) carried out by the United Nations, the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) series #SDGSinAcademia profiles the new SDG Hubs for each one of the Goals in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

19 November 2018 - This week our #SDGsinAcademia series features the University of La Punta (Argentina), a member institution of United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI), that has been chosen as the SDG Hub for Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

About the Hub:

The University of La Punta was created to provide intellectual, social and cultural opportunities to the population of the Argentinian province of San Luis. The university offers a range of  undergraduate programs through its institutes of Communication, Arts and Sports, Science and Technology and, Social and Psychosocial Studies, as well as continuing education initiatives.

The mission of the university is to be the instrument that gives the people of San Luis the opportunity to grow professionally and intellectually in order to contribute to local and international development. The university’s structure, wide range of initiatives, tools and resources combine to help it contribute to the development of the community.

What is this Hub doing about Goal 4? 

The university is open to all the individuals regardless of their race, gender, creed, colour or mental or physical capacity and is completely free so there is no economic barrier to attending the university.

The institution believes in the need to ensure access to quality education by both traditional and non-traditional means, including virtual education and the instrumental use of information and communications technologies for that purpose. It has also developed a wide range of learning initiatives aimed at senior citizens, rural communities and students with special needs to ensure that education is accessible to everyone.

For the University of La Punta education must be inclusive and interdisciplinary, while respecting local needs and customs. The institution considers education as the most critical issue within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as it directly impacts the advancement of the other Goals at all levels of society, but in particular the marginalized and most vulnerable sectors.

Some initiatives, carried out by the Outreach Secretariat, are aimed to promote development through education by bringing proposals and opportunities to every citizen and not only to those who want to pursuit a tertiary education. Among them, the distribution of books among children, training children and youth in robotics and the promotion of chess as an educational tool to promote abstract thinking and creativity, as well as individual and social skills.

A highlight of the university is the ‘Knowledge Olympics’, which offers an innovative learning experience to all students in the province by hosting contests that help students become global citizens.  The Language Institute teaches ten different foreign languages to over 2,000 students to advance multilingualism and global citizenship as well.

The university has partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), within the framework of the ‘San Luis Humanitarian Corridor’. Refugee families are hosted by the university in its student housing facilities and the institution also provides them with opportunities not only to learn Spanish, but also to be trained or even to pursue a Bachelor’s degree.

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The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018 reviews progress in the third year of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It has an overview that presents highlights of progress and remaining gaps for all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), based on the latest available data, and examines some of the interconnections across Goals and targets.

This is the overview provided in the Report about Goal 4:

  • More than half of children and adolescents worldwide are not meeting minimum proficiency standards in reading and mathematics. Refocused efforts are needed to improve the quality of education. Disparities in education along the lines of gender, urban-rural location and other dimensions still run deep, and more investments in education infrastructure are required, particularly in LDCs.
  • At the global level, the participation rate in early childhood and primary education was 70 per cent in 2016, up from 63 per cent in 2010. The lowest rates are found in sub-Saharan Africa (41 per cent) and Northern Africa and Western Asia (52 per cent).
  • An estimated 617 million children and adolescents of primary and lower secondary school age worldwide—58 per cent of that age group—are not achieving minimum proficiency in reading and mathematics.
  • In 2016, an estimated 85 per cent of primary school teachers worldwide were trained; the proportion was only 71 per cent for Southern Asia and 61 per cent for sub-Saharan Africa.
  • In 2016, only 34 per cent of primary schools in LDCs had electricity and less than 40 per cent were equipped with basic handwashing facilities.

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The following resources provide general information about the SDGs:

  • This is a comprehensive research guide from the UN Library in Geneva listing resources 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, geographical regions and by authors, to facilitate searchability. Each publication also has a short summary attached to it which helps with keyword searches.
  • This selection of tools is an initiative supported by UNDP, UN-HABITAT and the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments, which offers concept notes, papers, case studies, compilation of best practices and guides providing contextual and practical information about the SDGs.
  • This guide, entitled “Getting Started with the Sustainable Development Goals”, is intended for stakeholders and designed by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) to serve as an initial basis for implementing the SDGs.
  • SDSN also developed this guide, entitled “Getting Started with the SDGs in Universities”, to help universities, institutions of higher education and the academic sector in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific to accelerate their contributions to the SDGs by providing practical guidance and examples to inspire further action.

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You can learn more about the SDG Hubs at the UNAI website.  

Is your institution a member of UNAI and conducting activities and initiatives around Goal 4? Contact us at academicimpact@un.org to tell us about your work and let us connect your university with the SDG Hub! Working together we can make the 2030 Agenda a reality!