The world today has more knowledge than ever before, but not everyone can benefit from it. Globally, countries have made major strides in increasing access to education at all levels and increasing enrolment rates in schools, and basic literacy skills have improved tremendously. Among youth aged 15-24, the literacy rate improved globally between 1990 and 2016, increasing from 83.2% to 91.4%. Completion rates in primary school were 89.6% by 2016, and has witnessed a decline in recent years dipping from 90.7% in 2012. Few countries have achieved gender equality at all levels of education. In addition, one in five children, adolescents, and youth are out of school, including 64 million children of primary school age, 61 million of lower secondary school age and 138 million of upper secondary age.
A quality education is the foundation of sustainable development, and therefore of the Sustainable Development Goals. As a policy intervention, education is a force multiplier which enables self-reliance, boosts economic growth by enhancing skills, and improves people’s lives by opening up opportunities for better livelihoods.
The Sustainable Development targets for 2030 call for ensuring the completion of primary and secondary education by all boys and girls, and guaranteeing equal access to opportunities for access to quality technical and vocational education for everyone. Policy interventions will require improving access and improving quality, as well addressing relevant obstacles which include gender inequalities, food insecurity, and armed conflict.
In India, significant progress had been made in universalising primary education, with improvement in the enrolment and completion rates of girls in both primary and elementary school. The net enrolment ratio in primary education for boys and girls was at 100%, while at the national level, the youth literacy rate was 94% for males and 92% for females. The new national Education Policy and Sustainable Development Goal 4 share the goals of universal quality education and lifelong learning. The flagship government scheme, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, is aimed at achieving universal quality education for all Indians, and is complemented in this effort by targeted schemes on nutritional support, higher education, and teacher training.
By 2030, substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers, including through international co‑operation for teacher training in developing countries, especially least developed countries and small island developing states.
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