Education for Transformative Change: The Education We Need By 2030

One thing that has become clear during the process of developing the new global framework for development, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is that the world is quickly growing in complexity.

Ju.'hoan girl at the Let's Pull Together Preschool facility at Skoonheid Resettlement Farm, Omaheke Region, Namibia
Ju.'hoan girl at the Let's Pull Together Preschool facility at Skoonheid Resettlement Farm, Omaheke Region, Namibia
@Vilina Ninkova
Alice Kanengoni's picture

Gender and Women's Rights Programme Manager

June 26th, 2017

One thing that has become clear during the process of developing the new global framework for development, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is that the world is quickly growing in complexity. Faced with challenges such as increasing poverty, hunger, inequality, unemployment, climate change and depleting natural resources, among others, the new framework for achieving sustainable development has to be much more ambitious. The fact that the global development goals and targets significantly increased in number – from eight in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) framework to 17 SDGs plus 169 targets – bears testimony to this.

Dubbed “Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, the vision of the SDGs is to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030. Throughout the process of crafting the SDGs, feminists have kept a close eye on the nodes that could potentially ensure a positive shift in the various oppressive systems, and change the disadvantaged position of women and girls across the globe. The idea has been to ensure that gains made in the past are protected, and opportunities for advancing new frontiers are identified and capitalised on. It is against this backdrop that much lobbying to ensure gender equality occurred. This remains a standalone goal (SDG 5: Gender equality) as well as being systematically mainstreamed into all the other goals.

Analysing the aspirations expressed through the 17 SDGs, the building blocks towards ending poverty, fighting inequality and injustice, and tackling climate change by 2030, it is clear that there is a need to rethink the “calibre” of citizenry who can use their agency to work towards such a vision as well as demanding duty-bearers to deliver on this. Would it be a citizenry who merely banks on having universal access to primary education? The answer may lie in the fact that the MDG goal of achieving Universal Primary Education (MDG 3) has since been escalated in the SDG framework. It has been expanded to quality education (SDG 4), which is broader, and focuses on the nature, quality and full spectrum of education. The thinking is that this might be the kind of education required to shape citizens and societies that can adapt and engage with the complexity and dynamics of world politics, economics, and the social and cultural fabric. Therefore, it is critical to explore what needs to change in policy, governance practices and programming for education to be an effective vehicle for social justice, especially for women and girls on the African continent.

This issue of BUWA explores these questions and provides space for African women and men to define the kind of education that can drive such an agenda. Articles in the issue assess the existing policy frameworks and the officially stated drivers which are shaping them as well as those which are not stated. The various tested and emerging
untested models for delivering quality education for women and girls on the continent are considered, as well as key questions around innovative, robust financing models and challenges for education. The main focus here is the extent to which the provision of quality education has to be fully catered to through domestic finances and resources
– both for sustainability and ownership purposes.

About the author(s)

Alice Kanengoni manages the Gender and Women’s Rights programme at OSISA. She joined OSISA from the Johannesburg-based Gender Links, a regional organisation focusing on gender and women’s rights, where she worked as a Senior Researcher. Prior to that, she had worked as a Senior Researcher and deputy head of the gender programme at the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC) in Harare. Alice holds a Masters Degree in Media and Communications, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature.

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