The United Nations Sustainable 2030 Goals with focus on Education


Nelson Mandela once said ‘with Education, one is able and capable to change the world’. These words resonate with policy-makers, leaders and influencers the world over. It emphasises the important role that education plays for the advancement and betterment of people across the globe.


The United Nations (UN) has identified 17 Sustainable Goals, which they regard as important to bring about meaningful change and address some of the challenges prevalent in the modern world, today. Most of these initiatives identified were drafted as goals, which are systemic in nature and sustainable solutions are tantamount to ensure humanity moves forward with prosperity and the disparity gaps are therefore minimised.

These seventeen sustainable goals, as outlined by the UN, are to be achieved by 2030 and can also be mirrored by and with South Africa’s own National Development Plan’s 2030 goals. Both these 2030 goals emphasise the importance of Education as an important variable to address most social, economic and political challenges. The UN ranked Education as the 4th most important priority to achieve these sustainable goals as manifested. The focus is on Universal Primary Education; due to past challenges and realities with regards to access and enrollment figures.


- Enrolment in primary education in developing countries has reached 91 per cent but 57 million primary age children remain out of school.

- More than half of children that have not enrolled in school live in sub-Saharan Africa.

- An estimated 50 per cent of out-of-school children of primary school age live in

conflict-affected areas.

- 617 million youth worldwide lack basic mathematics and literacy skills.


Facts and Figures UN Findings on Education


Summary of these Goals as per the UN 2030 Sustainable Goals:

· By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and Goal-4 effective learning outcomes

· 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

· By 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university

· 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

· 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

· By 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy

· 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

· 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


In comparison with the NDP 2030

The South African Government designed, developed and produced the 2030 National Development Plan in an attempt to address the Apartheid legacies as instituted by the previous regime. The Plan (NDP) consists of various objectives and plans required to bring about sustainable change for the country by 2030. The timeline is also similar to the timeline as outlined by the United Nations Sustainable Goals 2030.


These stated NDP objectives range from economic, environmental, social, political and educational priorities. In 2011 the Planning Commission which was established, put forward a list of challenges based on their findings. These challenges required urgent intervention to ensure delivery on the 2030 objectives.

One of the studies conducted by the UN revealed the increase in literacy worldwide; with more girls in schools compared to their previous study.


Furthermore, developing nations continue to battle the systemic challenges such as poverty, political instability, unemployment and other related challenges.


Most notable have been Sub-Sahara Africa that has made great progress in primary school enrolment from 52% IN 1990 TO 78% IN 2012.


Facts and Figures:

The Commission ranked Education second, as a priority challenge with diagnostic interventions. Most concerning was the quality of school education for black people; highlighting that it is poor.

Furthermore we have seen a drastic increase with regards to Youth Unemployment. It’s clear the this direct correlation between low quality levels of education, and the technical skills gap to perform certain job functions has been seriously neglected over the years.


Included in the recommendations by the Planning Commission were the following:

· Universal access to two years of early childhood development

· Improve the schooling system

· Strengthening of Youth Services

· Increase the graduation rate of FCT colleagues

· Expand Learnership programmes and make training vouchers immediately available

The priorities by both the UN and the NDP 2030 are universal with regards to l access to education and early childhood development. Technical skills and vocational skills were also highlighted as paramount to job creation and to address unemployment. There is also strong focus on the Youth as an important segment of society by both these entities, to ensure better opportunities and to develop sustainable economies and future leaders.


An educated human race is capable and able to resolve some of the social and politically challenges in the long-term more sustainably.


In the absence of proper, quality education some of the challenges prevalent in most countries and communities will remain unchanged and prolong suffering with those affected.

These sustainable goals can only be achieved by means of meaningful partnerships with all stakeholders in the countries and communities in need. It’s not the responsibility of governments only; but multi-national corporations, non-profit organisations, policy-makers, business leaders and influencers and donors/funders.


Please see: https://youtu.be/yzfPdn1xTKM


Congratulations to the Class of 2019. Well done on passing your Grade 12 final examination; with an overall pass rate of 81.3%.


You are about to enter a new and exciting chapter of your journey. The Sports Trust Team wishes you all the best for this new phase. May it be filled with possibilities, new skills, opportunities, memorable experiences and personal growth!

Best of the Best Wishes for 2020...

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