Are you in or at school?

How is it that you are there?

Do you know of anyone that is not in school?

Do you expect them to be there?

Are they of your age or not?

I beg we set off our conversation from this point

Because education is the key that will allow many other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved.



When people are able to get quality education they can break from the cycle of poverty. Education therefore helps to reduce inequalities and to reach gender equality.

It also empowers peo­ple everywhere to live more healthy and sus­tainable lives.

Education is also crucial to fostering tolerance between peo­ple and contributes to more peaceful societies.


That said, the goal from the desk of the Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations is to ensure inclusive and qual­ity education for all and promote lifelong learning.

You may ask…. So through education, people can get better jobs and have better lives?


One may say yes and one may say no. Speaking from the angle of statistics, education reduces inequality.

Using data for 114 countries in the 1985–2005 period, one extra year of education is associated with a reduc­tion of the Gini coefficient by 1.4 percentage points.

The Gini coefficient is…


Some people might say, “But hasn’t a lot of progress been made over the last few years on education?”

Yes, enrolment in primary education in developing countries has reached 91%, give or take. If you love your maths, according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS Data Centre), between 2000 and 2012, the per­centage of out-of-school children among prima­ry-school-age children has declined from 40% to 22% in sub-Saharan Africa and from 20% to 6% in South Asia.

Girls attend a French class at a secondary school in the Malian capital Bamako, January 14, 2013. The Malian government had shut public schools in Bamako and the military garrison town of Kati on January 9 due to growing insecurity, but a French-backed military offensive against Islamists in the north of the country has renewed confidence in the security of the cities. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI – Tags: CIVIL UNREST MILITARY POLITICS EDUCATION)


“Where are people struggling the most to have access to education?”

More than half of children that have not enrolled in school live in sub-Saharan Africa, which makes it the region with the largest number of out-of-school children in the world.

And this region has a very young population so it will have to provide basic education to 444 million children between the ages of 3 and 15 in 2030, which is 2.6 times the numbers enrolled today.

The maths get very interesting here….keep in mind the number of years we have left till 2030!


“Are there groups that have a more difficult access to education?”

Yes, women and girls are one of these groups. The differently abled, too….among many others.

About one-third of coun­tries in the developing regions have not achieved gender parity in primary education.

In sub-Saha­ran Africa, Oceania and Western Asia, girls still face barriers to entering both primary and second­ary school.

These disad­vantages in education also translate into lack of access to skills and limited opportunities in the labour market for young women.

March 2017. Primary school Dhamma Yasin Arsan. Somalia has one of the worlds lowest enrolment rates for primary school-aged children. Only thirty per cent of children is going to school. and only 40 per cent of these are girls. Not even twenty per cent children from countryside attends schools. Extremely high rates of poverty in communities across Somalia make it difficult for parents to pay school fees. Very often parents are must pay for their childrens education. Poverty is the main reason they give for not sending their children to school. schools have great difficulties to cover their running costs. Girls participation in education is lower than that for boys. Fewer than 50 per cent of girls attend primary school. literate. The low availability of sanitation facilities- like separate latrines for girls and lack of female teachers plus safety concerns and social norms that favour boys education are factors inhibiting parents from enrolling their daughters in school. Nomadic pastoralists is high number in Somalia. Children in these communities are often denied their rights for education. In Somalia, many children attending primary school start school later than the recommended starting age of 6. High numbers of children 14-17 years old attending primary school. Unemployment in Somalia is among the highest in the world. (Photo by Maciej Moskwa/NurPhoto via Getty Images)


Most of all, is there something we can do? Yes, there is! A lot, actually.

  • Ask our governments to place education as a priority in both policy and practice.
  • Lobby our governments to make firm commitments to provide free primary school education to all, including vulnerable or marginalized groups.
  • Encourage the private sector to invest resources in the development of educational tools and facilities
  • Urge Non-Governmental Organisations to partner with youth and other groups to foster the importance of education within local communities

I feel lucky already! Are you?