E_SDG_logo_No UN Emblem_horizontal_rgbFrom the moment we grow up, we constantly hear you should do this, you should not do this. Mostly we choose “should”. This means we choose to live our life for someone else.  When we grow, we become like others and hardly know our own potential. In the other hand, the education system that taught us for several years was not sufficient to explore our inner talents. With the same mind-set we try to teach our children today also. According to NASA scientists, the children are born creative geniuses and the education system dumbs them down. In a test among 1600 children in the age group of 4-5 years, the scientists found that 98 percent children were genius.  After 5 years when the test was done again only 30 percent of same children were found genius and after 10 years the figures had dropped to 12 percent. The reason cited by them is not too difficult to apprehend because after 4-5 years we put our children in good schools for better education. This shows how the present education system is well equipped when the whole world talks about achieving global goals. Is the present education system is adequate. Definitely NO. A new system need to be introduced. Not only to achieve the global goals but to sustain the global goals and to lead the planet in a sustainable path.

Education plays a foundational role in SDGs. In addition to serving as the focus for SDG 4 (“ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”), education directly contributes to the goals addressing poverty reduction and reduced inequalities, health and nutrition, economic growth and labor market opportunities, as well as peacebuilding and the promotion of democratic institutions. Research cites that higher levels of education are associated with lower poverty rates. The Global Monitoring Report (GMR) calculated that there would be 171 million fewer people living in poverty ($1.25 a day) if all students in low income countries learned basic reading skills.  There is a strong correlation between education and poverty. In India, during the first year of life, children whose mothers reached lower secondary education were 48 percent less likely to suffer from stunting, compared to children of mothers with no education. The same figure for Peru was 60 percent (UNESCO 2014). If all women had completed primary education, maternal mortality “would have fallen from 210 to 71 deaths per 100,000 births (66 percent)” (UNESCO 2014). The degree to which people express intolerance in values surveys decreased with increasing education levels. In Latin America, those with secondary education were 47 percent less likely to express intolerance of other racial groups, and in Arab States people with secondary education were 14 percent less likely to express intolerance towards other religions (both compared to primary) (UNESCO 2014). In Sub-Saharan Africa, those with secondary school completion were 23 percent less likely to express intolerance towards those with HIV and in Central/Eastern Europe those with secondary education were 16 percent less likely to express intolerance towards immigrant groups (UNESCO 2014). A study of over 100 low and middle income countries from 1960–2010 showed that countries with high rates of education inequality were twice as likely to experience conflict in the following years.

The above data shows that education is the key in achieving all the SDGs and hence it should by the top most priority in the agenda. It is unlikely that the SDGs would be achieved by the year 2030 but to sustain the global goals and take the planet towards a sustainable path, we need a higher level of interventions. An intervention which could prepare our next generations so that they could understand what they need to do to make the planet a better place to live even beyond 2030. Hence introducing a change in the education system is highest priority for all of us.

The author is a SDG ambassador and Former Commonwealth Fellow and can be reached at changeparadise@gmail.com