Quality Education is the Root of Success
Education is integral to break free from the cycle of poverty, and the past decade has seen significant progress towards its accessibility. Yet, a significant gap in education is evident, particularly for girls and women, and those with disabilities. Educational inequalities are recognised by the United Nations (UN), through #SDG4: Quality Education.
Quality education has the potential to foster equality and diplomacy within societies. Education enables access to jobs, skills, and other future opportunities. However, the UN estimates that roughly half the population of children and youth were not meeting numeracy and literacy standards, in 2018. Additionally, of the adult population who were illiterate, two thirds comprised of women.
Moreover, with the digitization of the world, this will only exacerbate the existing inequalities such as the difficulties of remote learning faced by 500 million students, according to the UN.
An education disparity is also evident between urban and rural societies. The Australia population largely resides in urban and coastal areas, limiting educational attainment and employment options for those in rural areas. As a result, remote and Indigenous communities are recording the lowest school attendance rates. For example, in 2019, attendance rates between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students was 82 percent and 92 percent, respectively. A lack of resources means that the many needs of students go unmet, leading to disengagement.
One way #SDG4 has been addressed is through the Enactus Macquarie enterprise, the Nhuubala Yugal Education Centre (NYEC). NYEC diverges from a conventional educational structure to address the individual needs of disengaged rural Australian youth. NYEC embodies culture, community, and connection, and seeks to form a positive relationship between student, mentor, and learning to empower student learning experiences.
As society continues to pursue the digital age, this will make the disparity between connected and under connected countries more apparent, transforming the education gap into an education chasm. Addressing this, and promoting meaningful interactions, is vital to encourage young people to think big and achieve their dreams.
“The content of a book holds the power of education and it is with this power that we can shape our future and change lives.”—Malala Yousafzai