• Latest News - October 27, 2015

    Sustainable Development Goals: the importance of a quality education

    Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education

    25th September 2015 was a milestone day for the international development community. The United Nations passed a new, universal set of goals and targets for the next fifteen years: the Sustainable Development Goals.

    These ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set 17 clear goals and 169 targets to be achieved by 2030 in areas of critical importance to humanity. One that particularly resonates with Right To Play's own goals is Goal 4, which aims to 'ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all'. In other words, everyone should have access to a good education.

    Why the need for this new goal for education?

    This new SDG is an extension of one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were set by the international development community back in 2000, namely to achieve universal primary education by 2015.

    While there has been good progress against this MDG - since 2000 primary school net enrolment rate in the developing regions has risen from 83% to 91% (source: The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015) – this new SDG recognises that the increased participation has come at a cost to the quality of the standard of education that children are receiving.

    We know that of the world's 650 million primary school-age children, 250 million are unable to read, write or do basic mathematics. And more than half of these children have spent at least four years in school.

    So the focus has now shifted from the quantity of children receiving education to the quality of that education. 

    How is Right To Play helping to deliver this goal?

    Education - and in particular providing quality education - is one of our key areas of focus: we firmly believe that all children deserve access to a high-quality education, no matter their gender or background.

    Our approach to this is simple: we believe that if it is fun to go to school, children want to be there and are better able to absorb what they are learning. This in turn leads to better attendance and improved academic achievement. And we also recognise that quality of teaching is a significant factor in a student's academic achievement.

    So, to realise our aims of providing a better education to more children, we:

    • work with governments to fulfil their duty to provide good quality education;
    • train and support teachers to deliver better quality education through our unique play-based curriculum;
    • work in partnership with local communities to design programmes tailored to the specific issues they face; and
    • design games that give children the knowledge and skills they need to overcome adversity and to tackle the challenges affecting their communities
    As part of our commitment to this goal, we have recently launched the Play for the Advancement of Quality Education programme in eight countries across Africa and Asia. This two-year programme aims to improve academic performance on a large scale, reaching two million vulnerable and marginalised children.

    What impact does our approach have?

    We currently reach over one million children in some of the poorest communities of 18 countries worldwide. In those countries our unique approach – using the educational power of sport and play – is enabling us to see improvements to children's attendance, enrolment, and academic performance.

    • Students in our programmes are more likely to complete their learning. For example, in Ghana last year 99% of students in Right To Play classes completed their academic years versus 86% of students in non-Right To Play classes.
    • Teachers we have trained are better able to deliver child-centred teaching. For example, in Tanzania last year 65% of our trained teachers demonstrated the ability to engage students to create inclusive classroom environments, versus 27% of teachers outside the programme.
    • Governments are recognising the value of our approach. For example in 2011, following the success of a trial, the Rwandan Ministry of Education formally included our syllabus in their National Curric­ulum.  

    You may also be interested in:​