Inclusive Education

Education is something that everyone should be entitled to; everyone should have access to a good education. The fourth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) is centered around education, with the end goal being to achieve inclusive and equitable education for all. The term “inclusive education” emphasizes that education is for everyone, no matter your background. Rich, poor, white, African-American, Asian, autistic, old, young – it does not matter. Everyone should be able to get a good education.

Inclusive education is much more than providing access to education for persons with disabilities. Girls and women all over the world have struggled for access to education throughout history, something that we can still see in the United States today with the gender pay gap. While many people will look at the term “inclusive education” and think about providing accessible education to persons with disabilities, there are a lot of other marginalized populations that also need to be considered and cannot be forgotten. To be inclusive is to include everyone, no matter his or her background. SDG 4 outlines this by aiming to “ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education.” If everyone had a quality educational background, it would allow for opportunities that currently do not exist. The UN continues by aiming to “eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, and children in vulnerable situations.”

Education is a key to future success. By not providing accessible education, it limits future possibilities. Many jobs require college degrees, yet without accessible education, many people will not be able to get high school diplomas. The challenge is the process to make education accessible. In many countries in the world, education is free to the citizens of the country, subsidized by the government in order to provide access to everyone. In the United States, however, a free education is unheard of; college tuition often ends up costing about the same as a house. But in the United States, there is a lot of money available for scholarships, especially for first generation college students and other marginalized populations. The world as a whole has come a long way, even in the last few years, but there is still a far way to go. In 2017, the UN updated the progress by giving examples of how far we still have to go in order to achieve the goal of quality education. In 2019, Goal 4 is slated to be reviewed by the High Level Political Forum.

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