What’s concerning us : Part 3. UN SDG 4 – Quality Education

This is the third in a series of articles on what is concerning us. Consistent with our previous piece on SDG 8 we have widened the title scope from “investors” to “us” given we are all stakeholders in the outcomes.  In each article we concentrate on major issues that companies can positively impact.

The United Nations Sustainability Goals “UN SDGs” provide the Framework that Giddy Up has adopted to assist companies meet their Social License to Operate. In our second article we addressed Work and Growth. This time its access to Quality Education.

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Access to Quality Education is a high scoring development goal adopted in all geographies.

Goal 4:  Access to Quality Education

The UN records that “obtaining a quality education is the foundation to creating sustainable development. In addition to improving quality of life, access to inclusive education can help equip locals with the tools required to develop innovative solutions to the world’s greatest problems.

Over 265 million children are currently out of school and 22% of them are of primary school age. Additionally, even the children who are attending schools are lacking basic skills in reading and math. In the past decade, major progress has been made towards increasing access to education at all levels and increasing enrollment rates in schools particularly for women and girls. Basic literacy skills have improved tremendously, yet bolder efforts are needed to make even greater strides for achieving universal education goals. For example, the world has achieved equality in primary education between girls and boys, but few countries have achieved that target at all levels of education.

The reasons for lack of quality education are due to lack of adequately trained teachers, poor conditions of schools and equity issues related to opportunities provided to rural children. For quality education to be provided to the children of impoverished families, investment is needed in educational scholarships, teacher training workshops, school building and improvement of water and electricity access to schools.

  • By 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university;

  • By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship;

  • By 2030, substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers, including through international cooperation for teacher training in developing countries, especially least developed countries and small island developing states.

  • Support for improving access to quality education can be paired with international initiative.

New Zealand examples

Ngati Apa ki te Ra To offered and financed NZ Book Council Writers in Schools visits to the Schools where the Iwi had purchased the ground leases from the Crown in Te Tau Ihu. The motivation was to be more than a passive landlord and add value to the learning and aspirations of the next generation. 

Restauranteur Al Brown has partnered with Garden to Table to not only share the origin of food, but to link the experience with his colleagues. This is a two-way relationship where staff and children meet in each-others environment to improve understanding and life outcomes. 1

ICT security consultancy Cyber Toa partnered with Victoria University to co-design a new Bachelor of Cyber. Designed to strengthen NZ resilience against an escalating threat of cybercrime and cyberattacks. The Bachelor is the first known collaboration by commercial and tertiary partners in New Zealand. 2

Meanwhile educational publisher Dame Wendy Pye has sold 500 million books. Through the use of technology she has shared that she can teach a child to read for $3.00c. This democratizes learning and provides opportunity for hard to reach communities.



Business needs to broaden its Purpose in a conversation with its stakeholders. Considered alignment with the community is a win-win opportunity that awaits those with the insight and tenacity.




1.       https://www.giddyup.net.nz/insights/2018/7/4/creating-a-full-circle-of-learning

2.       https://www.giddyup.net.nz/insights/2018/8/24/protecting-new-zealand-with-education-and-technology

InsightsBrian Steele