The target of the sustainable development goal 4 is to achieve the overall improvement in the access to inclusive and quality education for all by 2030. However, there has been no sign of any rapid reduction to meet this target. On the contrary, there has been a slow down since the year 2000 compared to the earlier years on the global scale , the most affected people are the youth of secondary school age. With regards to gender, the female are the highest out of school on the global scale. Poverty and other structural problems are the reasons behind the challenges. One of the structural problems includes menial jobs that youth find after lower secondary which diverts their attention from education to trying to contribute to the family income at that stage. This increases the number of out of school children. Also, the level of income is one other significant pointer that reflects the tendency of a high number of children being out of school in a given country.
Considering the regional level, sub-Sahara Africa where Nigeria is included has the highest level of out of school children in all categories e.g. sex, age. Nigeria’s plight in the sub-Sahara out of school children as at 2016 is between 20% and 40% at the primary school level. Another problem that persists at the regional level is the gender disparity which have been considerably reduced in other parts of the world while sub-Sahara Africa remains unchanged.
Therefore, it is evident that poverty should be tackled alongside access to education.
There is about only a decade left to achieve the SDG4- which is quality education. Hence, it is a matter of urgency. The innovation of new strategies and policies as well as a pool of resources to achieve this goal will bring about the rapid decline in the number of out of school children, such strategies include support for helping the parent to invest in a business that could provide funds to send their children to school. Also such business will allow the child to focus on education rather than joining the contributing to the family income through a menial job.
The ultimate strategy, however, is to engage the school and government who are also direct stakeholders to re-examine their policies in view of 2030. While the school can consider their cost, the government can ensure that allocated funds get to the targets in the right amount and time. Social enterprise should be supported as the serve as an intermediary that bridge the distance between government and school while they also accelerate the fulfilment of the access to education which is measured by a number of out of school children.
The SDGs -4 only remain achievable goal if all these stakeholders would create a synergy for the next decade.