#SDG4 – Global Education

SDG: Sustainable Development Goals. Have you heard about them? Until this month, I thought I never had. It turns out that John and Hank Green (my favorite author and his brother) had made youtube videos about them back when the Millennium Development Goals reached their 2015 benchmark. The videos are right after this sentence!

Millennium Development Goals: 2000-2015


Sustainable Development Goals: 2015-2030


So it turns out, that I did know about them way back when Vlogbrothers ranted about it. But I didn’t know what it meant. Since graduating high school, I’ve become a bit more aware, a bit more passionate, and a bit more excited about this stuff. And being here in Finland makes me even more excited about education and the implications of EVERY PERSON ON THE PLANET BEING ABLE TO READ WHAT!?

So this week is the two day seminar and workshop adventure where JYU sits down and works on making this goal of global education a reality. It has happened for the last seven years and hopefully will continue long after. Today was the first day and it was so interesting! We had so much information to drink in today and it was both intimidating and inspiring.

Dr. William Smith is the Senior Policy Analyst at UNESCO – the real life, actual organization that is really, actually putting this real life project together to give the gift of education to every person on the planet – started the day off by presenting this year’s Global Education Monitoring Report. The report was full of numbers and graphs and statistics and I won’t bore you with all the information but I will tell you that it’s here if you want to get the whole Global Education Monitoring Report. If that doesn’t work, there is a smaller document here. When Dr. Smith finished talking, I felt equally as optimistic as John and angry as Hank. We have made so much progress! More people can read and write and do math than ever before in human history. However, there is so much work left to be done. There is a serious gap in education between the rich and the poor and to a lesser degree between men and women.

But there’s hope! He presented the UNESCO outcome targets and implementations that the organization has determined to be the direction to go to get this goal met. (Look here if you want to learn about it.)

The deal is this: we have to keep each other accountable. In the first 15 years of the 21st century, the United Nations and UNESCO was simply focused on getting kiddos all over the world primary education. Now, we are still trying to reach all the kids, but also trying to make every nation responsible for creating and maintaining their own quality education from kindergarten all the way to adult education. But unless we as citizens keep our governments, schools, and each other accountable for making it happen, the whole system is going to collapse. So pay attention! Make it happen!

After lunch, we separated into different small group workshops. I attended a skype call workshop from “Team Brazil” – a group of four Brazilian pre-service teachers who worked together to create positive attitudes, gentle atmospheres, and high self-esteem within the English (as a second language) classroom. We learned about how to use language learning to teach encouraging speech and create a safe atmosphere to learn in, in an environment where outside of school is anything but encouraging and safe.

Today, I definitely felt like I was part of a global community.

There’s so much more to learn tomorrow! Stay tuned.

Ps, if education isn’t your soap box of choice, but you still care about the future of the world and want to participate in making it better, visit https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org to get more information on all 17 goals and pick your favorite to get moving on!

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

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