Education is a fundamental human right and is key for the achievement of sustainable development. In addition to improving quality of life, access to inclusive education can help equip communities with the tools required to develop innovative solutions to the world’s greatest problems – if we achieve quality education for all, we can achieve the other SDGs.

Achieving inclusive and equitable quality education for all will require increasing efforts, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia and for vulnerable populations, including persons with disabilities, indigenous people, refugee children and poor children in rural areas.

Over 265 million children are currently out of school. In many cases, even the children who do attend school lack basic reading and math literacy.  While enrollment rates and basic literacy skills have improved – especially for women and girls – in the past decade, we need to make bolder efforts to reach universal education goals.

The lack of quality education is multifaceted. A lack of adequately trained teachers, poor school conditions and equity issues are all factors that need to be addressed. We need increased investment in scholarships, teacher training workshops, school building and improvement of water and electricity access to schools in order to achieve SDG 4.

Pre-Primary Education & Enrollment

Overall enrollment in education has improved significantly worldwide since 2000,  however, while approximately 2 in 3 children worldwide participated in pre-primary or primary education in 2014, this ratio was only 4 in 10 in developing countries. And while the enrollment rate for primary school is 91 per cent globally, a mere 63 per cent are enrolled in the final years of secondary school. Two hundred and sixty five million children and youth are out of school, including 61 million children of primary school age. Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia account for over 70 per cent of the global out-of-school population in primary and secondary education.

Basic Skills in Reading & Mathematics

A core issue for quality education is the acquisition of basic reading and math literacy. Even though more children than ever are going to school, many do not acquire basic skills in reading and mathematics. Recent learning assessment studies show that in nine sub-Saharan African countries and six Latin American countries, fewer than half of the students had attained minimum proficiency levels in mathematics during their primary education. In addition to this, fewer than half of the students in six sub-Saharan African countries had attained minimum proficiency levels in reading after the same period.

Equity Issues, Affluence & Educational Achievements

Equity issues pose a major challenge in education.Children from the richest 20 per cent of households achieve greater proficiency in reading at the end of their primary and lower secondary education than children from the poorest 20 per cent of households. In most countries, urban children scored higher in reading than rural children, making physical accessibility a clear barrier to quality education.

Quality of teacher training and school conditions can also jeopardize the prospects of quality education for all. Sub -Saharan Africa has a relatively low percentage of trained teachers in pre-primary, primary and secondary education (44 per cent, 74 per cent and 55 per cent, respectively), and the majority of schools in the region do not have access to electricity or potable water.

Access To Computers & The Internet

The average percentage of schools with access to computers and the Internet for teaching purposes is above 60 per cent in both primary and secondary education in developing countries. However, the share is less than 40 per cent in more than half of sub-Saharan countries with data. Official development assistance (ODA) for scholarships amounted to $1 billion in 2015, a decrease from $1.2 billion in 2014. Australia, France and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland were the largest contributors.

Health Systems & Funding

Businesses must commit to advancing quality education. Without it, we cannot empower girls, combat the climate crisis, fight inequality or end extreme poverty. It may seem daunting, but the private sector can leverage their resources and expertise to support governments and other educational initiatives to deliver quality education to all.This goal requires strong leadership and investments by businesses to ensure all children and adults have access to quality learning experiences.

Businesses can work locally, by developing the capacity of future employees and building a more diverse employee pipeline. Education can help address the discrepancy between job vacancies and qualified workers. You can also invest in education that will lead to a larger, more talented pool of future employees, or invest in more global initiatives that support communities in need.

As education is often a local issue, the private sector can work with local education systems and local communities to determine the best strategy for improving the quality of and access to education.  Apply best practices: promote sustainable development topics in higher education and support the public sector’s ability to provide inclusive and equitable quality learning opportunities for all.


Global Progress On Access To Education

UNICEF’s Associate Director of Education Jo Bourne explains 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 society as a whole. Education helps people lead healthier lives and allows society to be more peaceful and secure.

Increasing Efforts Supporting Quality Education

At a General Assembly high-level event, top UN officials called for greater efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4 and ensure inclusive, quality and equitable education for all children, youth and adults throughout their lives.

Education For A Digital Future

Information and communication technologies accelerate progress towards each SDG. Hands-on learning experiences using digital technologies, robotics and coding help solidify students’ hard and soft skills for an increasingly digital future.


The private sector needs to be an active global player in order to accelerate progress and address new health challenges. We need to develop healthcare solutions that work for everyone – people, communities and nations – and the private sector has the resources to do so.

Respecting all human life, including the right to health, needs to be the foundation of private sector values; companies of all sizes can both benefit from and contribute to achieving healthy societies. Address health needs around the world by reassessing your products, services and business activities. Evaluate your value chains and distribution networks, health and safety practices and employee benefits policies. Work within your immediate realm of influence: ensuring that your workers  are safe and have access to health services is the first step.

GRI, UNGC Release 'Practical Guide' for Companies to Report Their Impact on the SDGs

Many companies already act and report on climate change, water management and labor conditions. This guide can help companies take stock of their current actions and discover additional priorities to contribute to achieving the SDGs (read more).

KPMG: How to Report on the SDGs & Global Goals

4 in 10 of the world’s largest companies already reference the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in their corporate reporting, suggesting that business interest in the SDGs has grown quickly since their launch in September 2015 (read more).

Project Breakthrough: Growing The Businesses of Tomorrow

If we are going to achieve a sustainable future, as outlined by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the role of business will be critical. In fact, if viewed in the right way, achieving the SDGs presents huge market opportunities for businesses (read more).


1) Media Package

  1. Program Photographs & Illustrations (Max. 10 Images)
  2. Detailed Project Description (Max. 500 Words)
  3. Optional: URL/Link to Supporting Video

2) Financial & Strategic

In order to determine financial performance & potential for scalability, please answer the following questions:

  1. Please describe how the SDG business initiative is linked to your company’s core competency/competencies.
  2. Please provide an overview of the business case associated with your SDG business initiative.
  3. Please provide evidence of planned program expansion over the coming quarters and/or fiscal years.

3) Magnetism & Inspiration

How has your business initiative been a source of magnetism and inspiration? Please provide examples of your company’s  influence on each of the following:

  1. Industry Impact
  2. Corporate Culture
  3. Key Stakeholder Groups

SDG #4 - Quality Education - The Global SDG Awards

4) SDG Impact Metrics

What progress has your organization made towards achieving SDG #4? Please select and provide one (or more) supporting metrics to help evaluate your social impacts (see below for a list of possible options to select from).

Please describe how has your company has:

  • Increased the proportion of children of working parents who have access to local, affordable and safe childcare services and/or subsequent primary and elementary education opportunities.
  • Increased access to educational resources and/or educational credentials (i.e. – diplomas, certificates, etc.) for adult and/or vulnerable population groups (by % or total # of individuals).
  • Increased minimum proficiency levels in reading, writing and mathematics for children (i.e. – early childhood development & pre‑primary education <5 years old, primary school children between 5-9 years old, lower secondary children between 9-12 years old).
  • Other KPI (please insert and describe).


OPTIONAL: Please provide a description/overview of 3rd party assurances relating to the verification of the metrics and figures provided above.


SDG #1 - No Poverty - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #2 - Zero Hunger - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #3 - Good Health & Well-Being - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #4 - Quality Education - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #5 - Gender Equality - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #6 - Clean Water & Sanitation - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #7 - Affordable & Clean Energy - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #8 - Decent Work & Economic Growth - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #9 - Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #10 - Reduced Inequalities - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #11 - Sustainable Cities & Communities - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #12 - Responsible Consumption & Production - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #13 - Climate Action - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #14 - Life Below Water - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #15 - Life On Land - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #16 - Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #17 - Partnerships For The Goals - The Global SDG Awards