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4 Quality Education 4. Quality Education

Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Opportunities & Challenges Technology in action
Quality Education

Goal 4 aims to provide inclusive, equitable and quality education for all people, globally. Its targets span a variety of challenges related to inclusion of marginalized populations at multiple levels of education and in the workforce. Access to education remains absent from the lives of 263 million under 18s. Young people in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia make up 70% of this figure. Those who attend school often fail to acquire basic skills in reading and mathematics. In almost half of Latin American countries, less than 50% of primary school graduates attain minimum proficiency in mathematics and reading, while 25% of sub-Saharan African countries have less than half their graduates attain minimum reading proficiency. Gaining a quality education most impacts children in developing nations; studies show that each additional year of school increases future income by an average of 10%.

$3.1bnOf venture capital flowed into ed-tech companies in 2015
+10%Increase in average income with each additional year of school
2/3rdsIn 2013, two-thirds of the 757 million adults unable to read and write were women
More about this Goal

Opportunities & Challenges

Improving quality and delivery of education for children and adults, especially those living in rural areas and in low-income countries, presents a number of opportunities and challenges:

Extending the classroom: 90% of children worldwide completed primary education, but only 63% finish secondary school. The lack of trained teachers and poor conditions of schools are key barriers to achieving quality education. Cost-effective education products and services that eliminate barriers to access and improve quality of learning, especially for rural and disadvantaged populations, represent a significant opportunity.

Equal access to education: In 2013, two-thirds of the 757 million adults unable to read or write were women. Women are particularly under-represented in STEM education: 16% of female students graduate in STEM subjects vs. 30% of male students. Technology-driven education programs must recognize gender specific challenges including fewer role models and negative stereotypes that can lower girls’ aspirations and achievements. Equal access to education requires addressing financial disadvantages of students and increasing funding for innovative business models. For example, the Teacher Incentive Fund has trialed pay-for-performance programs in the US, and open source programs continue to grow (e.g. edX, Khan Academy).

Measuring learning achievements: Lack of comparable data makes measuring educational attainment across countries difficult. Leveraging big data, IoT and connected classrooms to better track learning outcomes can help identify and prioritize effective teaching methods. 

In many developing markets it is not expensive, sophisticated technology which has the biggest impact on education, but more ubiquitous, inclusive and affordable technology like mobile. Jaideep Prabhu, Judge Business School
“THERE IS A NEED TO TRANSCEND THE IMPERIAL IVORY TOWER MENTALITY AND CREATE A GLOBAL STANDARD IN EDUCATION. SMARTPHONES AND PHONE BASED CURRICULUMS CAN BE A MAJOR PART OF THIS.” Sherman Indhul, Transnet

Technology in action

Real-time analytics can be leveraged to develop personalized curricula to students and trainees, helping to accelerate learning and upskilling. IBM is developing data-driven cognitive technologies to enable personalized education and improve outcomes for students, educators and administrators. 

AI and machine learning can extend teachers’ reach and, for example, Brainly uses machine learning to automate content shared on its platform, allowing its decentralized team of moderators to focus on providing quality support to students. Quill uses machine learning and natural language processing to help students improve grammar and writing.

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality can create immersive experiences for students and trainees and bridge the gap between school and the workplace. These tools have particular application in STEM subjects where learning opportunities are enriched through interaction with dimensional objects and environments (e.g. zSpace)

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