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Goal 4 – Quality Education
Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
Summary: Although there has been much progress in global education, the barriers holding children back from reaching their full potential through quality education still exist. When educated, young people are more likely to have the self-confidence and knowledge to better both their communities and their own livelihoods. Worldwide children’s education is an important tool in the overall reduction of global poverty.
Reflection question: How might I support educational opportunities for children through mentoring programs, tutoring or sharing financial resources?
So, why aren’t children going to school?
- A country’s lack of funding for education contributes not only to the absence of actual schools and materials but a low quantity and quality of teachers as well.
- Their families are poor. When a child’s parents are illiterate, unemployed or sick, all factors contributing to poverty, the risk of that child either dropping out of school or not going to school at all are doubled.
- Children’s education rates drop during times of war or conflict.
- Poor families often see no other option than to marry off their female children, a major cause of a lack of worldwide children’s education, particularly for girls.
- School is too far away. In an impoverished country where the children are hungry, disabled and responsible for working around the house, this is simply too much time to invest.
- They have to work. Eleven percent of children are child-laborers, which comes to 168 million young people.
- They or their families are sick. Even in first-world countries, illness can be a huge barrier for children’s education.
- They are female. Females account for 54 percent of the non-schooled population globally.
- They are hungry. According to the Global Citizen, “Being severely malnourished, to the point, it impacts on brain development, can be the same as losing four grades of schooling.”
Learn more about the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Food for Thought
The Dignity of Work
The economy must serve people, not the other way around. Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God’s creation. If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected--the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to the organization and joining of unions, to private property, and to economic initiative.
"Growth in justice requires more than economic growth, while presupposing such growth: it requires decisions, programs, mechanisms and processes specifically geared to a better distribution of income, the creation of sources of employment and an integral promotion of the poor which goes beyond a simple welfare mentality. I am far from proposing an irresponsible populism, but the economy can no longer turn to remedies that are a new poison, such as attempting to increase profits by reducing the work force and thereby adding to the ranks of the excluded." (Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel [Evangelii Gaudium. . . ], no. 204)
God, Faithful Shepherd, we pray for children around the world who are deprived of a quality education.
Help parents to understand that children need an education to have the full and abundant life you came to give them.
Remove the barriers to education that some people experience due to conflict-affected countries, economic situations, social conditions and poverty.
Help us to change society’s systems and to build a momentum around the world where all people are provided opportunities for life-long learning.
We pray, too, for all who labor. Thank you for our hands and minds that work to provide food and sustain lives. Give us courage to protect the dignity of work and respect the basic rights of all workers. Guide us as we work to stop modern slavery —forced labor, child-labor, and human trafficking.
May the voices of workers be heard in the seeking of a financial progress and economic growth that creates dignified, valued, and fulfilling jobs while protecting our environment. We count on the power of your Spirit in our efforts. Amen.