Global Goals Work, but there are lessons to learn. Example SDG 4 on Education. Technology and Ecosystem has changed.
The first ever global movement for ‘inclusive development’ in the history of human civilization was launched by United Nations at the dawn of 21st century when, in year 2000.
In its General Assembly consisting of all of 196 countries UN adopted eight Millennium Development Goals MDGs) . The very second goal of the pack of the MDGs was to “Achieve universal primary education”.
That indeed was challenging and formidable goal considering that the global enrolment in primary school in 2000 was only 83 percent. The final review report of MDGs in 2015, when MDGs were to be finally achieved, declared that the global enrolment had reached 91 percent. The target of 100 percent was narrowly missed but the point was made that “the global goals under United Nations do work!’.
UN General Assembly of all 197 countries , on 25th September 2015, adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), post-MDGs. Their implementation was launched on 1 January 2016 and they are to be achieved by 2030. The fourth goal of seventeen SDGs is to ‘Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’. Clearly, the marked shift from quantity, in MDGs, to quality in SDGs is obvious. Further, SDG related to education is now focussing not only at primary level but at all levels of learning and, more importantly, its objective has now shifted more towards life-long learning opportunities for all. Dynamics of fast changing technologies over last two decades and vibrant nature of business ecosystems that demand high level of skills have now been identified as the emerging factors that are need to be internalized in designing and delivering the education. Lessons were learnt by the global community.
Education related Sustainable Development Goal, referred above, focuses on the acquisition of foundational and higher-order skills; greater and more equitable access to technical and vocational education and training (TVET); continued learning throughout life; and the knowledge, skills and values that needed to function well and contribute to society. Fundamental skills provide the building blocks to motivate youth for further learning throughout their lives and even pass on the GenNext.
Smart Campus Cloud Network (SCCN) is serious attempt to do exactly that. It provides solid foundation for ‘learning by doing’. It allows the students and faculty alike to practice, within the campus and treasure the natural resources by measuring with the help of smart technologies. SCCN engages the students to perform resource efficiency measures in the campus and contribute to relevant SDGs.
One of the lessons from final UN-report of MDGs indicates that in last 15 years the technology that has emerged could be deployed to strengthen the systems that did not allow MDGs related activities to be monitored. IOT and Big Data Analytics are now available. The same report highlights the importance of real time data monitoring for effective decision making. In the education-policy such on-line and real-time monitoring will be at the core of student-exercise needed for comparative analysis to generate positive competition among the campuses. Learning by doing and excelling by competing in the efficiency projects within the campus are the game-changing mechanisms for skill-building. Leap-frogging to super efficiency rather than making incremental improvement in efficiency needs competitive spirit, which is nurtured by SCCN. Further, the speed to achieve the super efficiency is more important than simply achieving it.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi while agreeing to SDGs at United Nations General Assembly stated that, “Much of India’s development agenda is mirrored in the Sustainable Development Goals.”. Mirroring of educational agenda within global Sustainable Development Agenda of United Nations would need learning by doing by deploying modern technologies like cloud networking.
Allowing campuses to positively compete and continuously innovate by forging creative partnerships via cloud networks is the objective of SCCN. END
By : Rajendra Shende, Chairman TERRE Policy Centre and former Director UNEP