Education is a basic human right, yet millions of children around the world are denied their right to a quality education. Restricted access to education increases the likelihood of intergenerational poverty and intersects with other adverse socio-economic outcomes. Ensuring equal access to education is of utmost importance for sustainable development.
Approximately 264 million children are out of school – the majority of this figure consists of children from some of the poorest regions in the world. Equal access to quality education is fundamental for a child’s future so much so it is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Quality education increases a child’s chance to escape poverty, and bolsters their chances of not falling back into poverty; it is no coincidence that the poorest people in the world are also the least educated.
Equal access to quality education is restricted for numerous reasons ranging from societal norms, to a lack of means. Girls are frequently denied access to education, particularly in many developing countries. Children with disabilities also experience restricted access to quality education resulting from a combination of discrimination, social attitudes, poverty, and lack of resources.
In many crisis-affected countries, children are denied a quality education. Currently, 1 in 4 out-of-school children live in a crisis-affected country. Not only does education promote stability, good governance and peace for the country, it also promotes prosperity for societies and individuals following the crisis.
SDG 4 cannot be fully realised without all children receiving equal access to quality education. Achieving SDG 4 requires we target the underlying reasons why access to education is restricted, as well providing education to those children who are excluded.
- Dóchas Education Working Group Submission to the Public Consultation on Ireland's New International Development Policy (2018)
- Dóchas 'Education: Laying Foundations for Development' (2008)
- Dóchas Education Working Group 2017 Terms of Reference
Government and Multilateral Publications
- Irish Aid Education in Development webpage
- Irish Aid Education Policy and Strategy
- UN General Assembly Resolution on the Right to Education in Emergencies (2010)
- The World Bank 'Education: Children with disability are being left behind' (2017)
- GEM Report 'Accountability in Education' (2017)
- Plan International Ireland 'Key Elements in supporting Education'
- INEE 'Minimum Standards Handbook - For Education'
- What Works in Girls' Education: Evidence and Policies from the Developing World (G.B. Sperling, 2006)
- UNESCO: The Global Education Monitoring Report website
- The Global Partnership for Education
- Global Campaign for Education
- The World Bank National Assessments of Educational Achievement
- UNICEF: 'Education Cannot Wait' website