In 2016, The Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) launched a social media campaign, #WhatisSDG4. The campaign is meant to increase awareness of the United Nation’s various Sustainable Development Goals, especially those aimed at providing every child worldwide with an education by 2030.
The Global Education First Initiative was the brainchild of United Nation’s Secretary General. Launched in 2012, the program’s main objectives involve granting accessible education to children globally and improving education worldwide. Ultimately GEFI seeks to build a global community and curriculum that transcends geographical boundaries.
#WhatisSDG4 was officially launched on February 16. The campaign is focused on addressing the global issue of poor school enrollment. As it stands, 124 million children are still not attending school, especially detrimental in countries experiencing intense conflict.
Today, approximately 71 million youths around the world only receive a primary education, half of which come from low income countries. Moreover, the education that these children do receive is inadequate due to poorly trained instructors and shortage of school supplies. Fundamental knowledge of counting and reading may not exist in these inefficient education systems. 250 million children do not have basic skills, over half of whom have received four years of education. 757 million adults cannot read or write, about two thirds of whom are women. Even after accounting for increases in domestic resources, there is still a huge annual financing gap of $39 billion U.S. A 600 percent increase of donor aid is required order to fill this gap and provide 12 full years of free education to children and adolescents in developing countries.
Altogether, #WhatisSDG4 consists of ten goals, beginning with advocating government agency, institutional and even individual support in sponsoring global education policies. Additionally, SDG4 supports accessible global education programs and policies such as granting universal access to vocational training programs, free secondary education and affordable higher education.
The global education nonprofit collaborates with many global partners such as UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, U.N. Women, U.N. Special Envoy for Global Education and World Bank. Within the GEFI itself are various sub-organizations such as the Youth Advocacy Group (YAG) and GEFI’s Secretariat, UNESCO. YAG consists of 14 youths from across the globe who are mobilizing young people around the world towards GEFI’s goal of fostering a global identity. All of these organizations work towards the cumulative goal of reforming education policies and incorporating them into creating a global community.
– Jenna Salisbury