Providing quality education is one of the sustainable development goals (SDG 4). Also, education is one of the parameters to measure human development as it is included in the measure HDI.
This emphasis on education is justifiable because education brings behavioural changes; it makes us more knowledgeable and skilful. It creates awareness about the environment and our social responsibility. It also has an indirect impact on an individual's health, reducing the rate of population growth. Hence, education plays a significant role to attain many other SDGs also.
The sustainable development goal of providing quality education can be further decomposed into the following low-level objectives.
To provide equitable education: To ensure that all girls and boys complete pre-primary, primary, secondary, and tertiary education, including university.
To educate on diverse skills and knowledge To provide knowledge and train on diverse skill including literacy, numeracy, technical and vocational skills required for employment, and entrepreneurship. Also, make them aware of sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, and their responsibility towards sustainable development.
To strengthen educational infrastructure This can be done by building and upgrading education facilities by creating a learning environment friendly to child, physically challenged person, and by recruiting qualified teachers.
Meeting these objectives is challenging, especially for poor-resource communities, because of a shortage of trained teachers, difficulties in providing better learning experiences to students, lack of playground in urban areas, and oversized classrooms. Hence, educators all over the world are gradually adopting technologies to overcome some of these challenges.
Education a General Perspective
There exist two competing and complementary perspectives towards education. These perspectives are often held by policymakers formulating the structure of educational programs. These perspectives are utilitarian and transformative.
Utilitarian perspective In the utilitarian perspective, the emphasis is on the economic growth of the student community. Hence the emphasis is on imparting knowledge and skills that help students get employment, a decent job, build entrepreneurial spirit, and innovations leading to wealth creation. Policymakers and educators design educational programs to achieve these outcomes.
Transformative perspective: In the transformative perspective, the emphasis is on bringing social reforms and restructuring the social foundation. Hence the emphasis is on imparting values such as gender equality, social justice, and the consequences of poverty. These values improve understanding of social injustice makes students more socially responsible. Policymakers and educators design programs with objectives to impart the significance of these values in building communities.
These two perspectives seem extreme approaches to achieving educational outcomes. However, in practice, educational programs try to balance these extreme stands by incorporating a mixture of both kinds of course in an educational program.