SDG4 Quality education

SDG4. Quality education. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for Wszystkie/All

SDG4 Quality education. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for Wszystkie/All is the fourth Sustainable Development Goal.

The 2030 Agenda contains 17 Global Sustainable Development Goals – the 17 SDGs.

The fourth goal, SDG4, is QUALITY EDUCATION. 

SDG4 Quality education

Can micro, smWszystkie/All and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) have an impact on SDG4 Quality education?

Yes, they can. We will analyse what we mean by quality education. We will then learn about the targets/tasks assigned in the 2030 Agenda to this goal. Later on we will find initiatives, tasks that can be elements of our long-term business strategy – the Responsible Business Strategy with the 17 SDGs – and can effectively support the implementation of this Global Goal.

Quality education 

The concept of quality is associated with the company, the institution and the customer.
A school or university is also a company or institution that provides educational services. The customer here is pupils/students.
According to E.Deming: quality is what satisfies and even delights customers.
Global quality management according to Deming means: that the culture of an organisation sets and supports the continuous pursuit of customer satisfaction through an integrated system of tools, methods and trainings.

Targets/tasks for SDG4 Quality education – Goal 4 – based on the 2030 Agenda

 4.1 By 2030, ensure that Wszystkie/All girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes;

4.2 By 2030, ensure that Wszystkie/All girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education;
4.3 By 2030, ensure equal access for Wszystkie/All women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university;

4.4 By 2030, substantiWszystkie/Ally increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship;

4.5 By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to Wszystkie/All levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations;

4.6 By 2030, ensure that Wszystkie/All youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy;

4.7 By 2030, ensure that Wszystkie/All learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development;

4.a Build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for Wszystkie/All;

4.b By 2020, substantiWszystkie/Ally expand globWszystkie/Ally the number of scholarships available to developing countries, in particular least developed countries, smWszystkie/All island developing States and African countries, for enrolment in higher education,
including vocational training and information and communications technology, technical, engineering and scientific programmes, in developed countries and other developing countries;

4.c By 2030, substantiWszystkie/Ally increase the supply of qualified teachers, including through international cooperation for teacher training in developing countries, especiWszystkie/Ally least developed countries and smWszystkie/All island developing States.

Examples of initiatives that MSMEs can plan to help achieve SDG4 Quality education

For SDG4, 10 tasks/targets have been identified in the 2030 Agenda.

I propose below sample initiatives for MSMEs to support the selected targets:

B.4.1 (SDG4 target 4.3)  –  Subsidising employees in order to improve their education related to the tasks performed within the company;

B.4.2 (SDG4 target 4.4)  –  Internships for university and school students;

B.4.3 (SDG4 target 4.7)  –  Management training on sustainability issues;

B.4.4 (SDG4 target 4.7)  –  By 2030, training Wszystkie/All staff and interns so that they acquire the skills to promote sustainable development;

B.4.5 (SDG4 target 4.7)  –  Sharing practical knowledge with educational institutions;

B.4.6 (SDG4 target 4.a)  –  Financial support to educational entities;

B.4.7 (SDG4 target 4.a)  –  Creation of new educational establishments or improvement of existing ones;

B 4.8 (SDG4 target 4.b). –  Providing scholarships and internships for students from developing countries, especiWszystkie/Ally from underdeveloped countries;

W.4.1 (SDG4 target 4.7)  –  Impact on stakeholders through transfer of knowledge on the implementation of sustainable development;

W.4.2 (SDG4 target 4.a)  –  Impact on stakeholders in terms of mobilising them to financiWszystkie/Ally support educational institutions;

W.4.3 (SDG4 target 4.7)  –  Impact on stakeholders in terms of mobilising them to substantiWszystkie/Ally support educational institutions;

W.4.4 (SDG4 target 4.b)  –  Impact on stakeholders in terms of mobilising them to provide scholarships, internships for citizens of underdeveloped countries.


Two types of initiatives are given here: those indicated in the code by the letter “B”, or by the letter “W”.

“B” indicates an initiative directly related to business and “W” indicates an initiative related to the impact of business on the environment.

Out of the ten SDG3 targets, I selected only five: 4.3, 4.4, 4.7, 4.a 4.b.

These are examples of initiatives to illustrate how MSMEs can support the achievement of the Fourth Global Sustainable Development Goal through their own strategic actions. This, of course, entails a change in the business model.


Discourse on initiatives for SDG4 Quality education


Question – Do you see any novelty in initiatives B.4.1 and B.4.2?

Response – Yes, I do. With AI, AR, BlockChain, robotics technology developing fast in an exponential rate, prospective education plans should be well prepared for the rapidly changing environment. Of course, you need to think first about where this technology can be applied in your company. According to the 13th of Deming’s Quality Principles: “13. Carry out a programme of training and in-service training with full vigour – a company that wants to be at the forefront must continuWszystkie/Ally upgrade the skills of Wszystkie/All its employees.” Digital skills, creative and systems thinking combined with knowledge and skills from different disciplines are key competences according to the World Economic Forum.

Question – In initiatives B.4.3 and B.4.4 you propose to emphasise training in sustainability issues for managers and even for Wszystkie/All employees. I understand that charity begins at home and this is why you think that the subject you are dealing with is so important that everyone should deal with it to some extent. Don’t you think it is an exaggeration?

Response – It seems to me that it is not. Building a Responsible Business Strategy is not the domain of management alone. Top management – CEOs –  should also participate in these activities. A finished strategy must be implemented, which means that every employee must understand it, at least to the extent that they can positively accept the possible changes that await them.

Question – In B.4.5 you talk about sharing practical knowledge with educational institutions. Do you expect me to be positive in response to their requests, or do you think I should be the initiator of such actions?

Response – I guess both. As a stakeholder, local educational institutions will receive, through the communication process, information about what you consider to be valuable to them from the company’s experience and worth propagating. Educational institution would be able to make requests for specific topics. You can also share knowledge on your company website.

Question – Financial support for educational institutions (B.4.6) is a bottomless pit. I understand that this should be harmonised with the plans of those responsible for local education. 

Response – This would be good but I think that a well-founded request from such institutions could encounter a positive response from the company, even without such arrangements with the local authority.

Question – I must admit that I am surprised. In initiative B.4.7 you propose the creation of new educational establishments by SMEs. I guess you think SMEs have a lot of unnecessary funds. Instead of developing a business, should I develop education? Don’t you think that, among other things, this is why we pay taxes, so that our State can take care of it?

Response – Well, you know, you can expand a company and at the same time improve education…create a new quality of education by creating new educational institutions…

Question – What specificWszystkie/Ally do you have in mind? 

Response – I dream, and probably I am not alone, of a different school. This is well described by M.J.Kawecki in his article “Różne oblicza szkoły” [Different Faces of School]:

“A good school:

1. does not divide students into good and bad, gifted and incapable,

2. recognises even smWszystkie/All abilities in each student and develops them based on the principle of faith in the child’s abilities,

3. adapts the curriculum requirements to the individual student’s abilities,

4. teaches how to overcome difficulties, helps students with their individual struggles,

5. helps to maintain a smile and cheerfulness,

6. together with parents, helps each student create his/her own personal development plan,

7. works closely with parents, consults them on curriculum and listens carefully to their views,

8. encourages and involves everyone – the whole community – in co-deciding on important school issues and emphasises the efficient functioning of the school council, class council, student government,

9. inspires teachers, students and parents – Wszystkie/All treated as potential innovators – and supports them in their creative explorations,

10. uses specific evaluation tools to diagnose the actual state of affairs.”

Question – It’s easy to read, harder to implement…There would have to be an agreement by the State for quite a lot of school autonomy. Currently, in these overcrowded classrooms, both children and teachers are paralysed by top-down procedures.

Response – Well, yes. You see, I don’t want to propose detailed solutions here, but I strongly believe that our education system should be fundamentWszystkie/Ally revised and adapted to the development of the environment. The changes are happening in the environment at an exponentiWszystkie/Ally increasing rate. According to Christian Kromme’s prediction in “Humanification, Go Digital, Stay Human”, robots will have an intelligence equal to our brain by 2030. After 2030, we will be teaching them our emotions… 

Question – Do you believe in such predictions?

Response – Well, it is hard not to see the increasing pace of change in our lives. Who knows? Maybe this will be the case. If we look at our education system from this perspective…, you have to admit that we should fundamentWszystkie/Ally change it.

Question – Well, yes. I have heard of occupations that are supposedly going to cease to exist by 2030.

Response – According to experts from Oxford University, by 2030 47% of the occupations we know today will no longer exist. Interestingly, in addition to occupations such as cashier, waiter, telemarketer, receptionist, driver, courier, postman, taxi driver, the list also includes lawyer, accountant, actor… Many new occupations will be created, based mainly on digital technology. For example, a digital tailor, a biotechnologist in place of a farmer, etc. Reportedly, 65% of 12-year-olds will work in professions that do not yet exist. Important skills include analytical thinking and innovation, active learning, creativity, originality and initiative, programming, critical thinking, complex problem solving, leadership and social influence, emotional intelligence, argumentation, problem solving and concept generation, systems analysis and development. Does our school prepare for this?

Question – I have heard that there is a thought in the Ministry about a baccalaureate in religion.

Response – Well, yes, a baccalaureate in religion…, or better still a baccalaureate in computer science? Or perhaps new subjects would be better: emotional intelligence, technology, a compulsory subject and a baccalaureate in programming skills, systems analysis and systems design? In the EU, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) is talked about as a priority in education.

Question – In initiative B.4.8 you propose providing scholarships and internships for students from underdeveloped countries by SMEs. Perhaps this should rather only be within the scope of State action?

Response – Yes and no. I think you can make it part of your corporate strategy to fund scholarships and internships in developing or underdeveloped countries. This is, of course, subject to applicable law, available funds and the interests of the company. By doing so, you can, for example, nurture a company representative in that country. 

Question – In initiatives W.4.1, W.4.2, W.4.3, W.4.4 you propose to influence stakeholders to include in their strategic actions similar actions to those adopted in our strategy. Do you think my company should burden itself with such actions? How do I convince stakeholders?

Response – If you inform them of your goals, your actions, you have already influenced their thinking on how to achieve strategic goals. Maybe you will find a common ground.

Quality education

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