Goal 4: Quality Education

Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.

To create sustainable futures, there must be educated workers who can support government agencies, private-sector businesses, and other organizations that fuel economic growth. To build an educated workforce, children must be provided the opportunity to learn. Massive open online courses can provide learning that is as immersive and detailed as any classroom experience to thousands of children who previously had little or no schooling.

The Trillion-Dollar Cost of Illiteracy

As a child, was school something you took for granted as an accepted, ordinary part of your life? Were you able to attend school beyond the primary grades? And did your education help you get you where you are today?

Not everyone in the world has the privilege of education and the benefits learning brings. In fact, a recent report from the World Literacy Foundation states that more than 796 million people in the world cannot read and write. And with 1 in 5 people worldwide struggling with illiteracy, the cost to the global economy is more than US$1 trillion dollars each year.

On its site, UNICEF proclaims that when all children have access to a quality education rooted in human rights and gender equality, it creates a ripple effect of opportunity that influences generations to come. Education ends generational cycles of poverty and disease and provides a foundation for sustainable development.

The ripple effect: fueling a sustainable future

To create sustainable futures, there must be educated workers who can support government, private-sector businesses, and other organizations that fuel economic growth. To build an educated workforce, children must be provided the opportunity to learn.

Let’s take a look at Africa. According to the World Economic Forum, Africa has the largest youth demographic across the globe. Over the next 25 years, it is estimated that the continent’s working-age population will double to 1 billion, exceeding that of China and India. It is expected that 112 million workers will enter Africa’s labor force by 2020.

However, nearly 35% of Africa’s youth lack the basic skills required to perform a job and, in particular, they lack technology training. Initiatives such as Africa Code Week, which was launched in the fall of 2015, are changing this. In its first year, more than 88,000 youth from 17 African countries participated in more than 3,000 free coding workshops to learn the skills they need to thrive in the 21st-century digital workforce and further Africa’s economic development. The number skyrocketed to more than 426,000 youth introduced to coding in 2016 and even 1,300,000 in 2017.

How was Africa Code Week made possible? One key enabler is massive open online courses, which provide learning that is as immersive and detailed as any classroom experience. The thousands of children who participated in the coding workshops in Africa simply needed a computer and access to the Internet to download the Scratch programming language that was used. There was also an online community where students created their own interactive stories, games, and animations.

Women: transforming communities – and nations

Educating women is key to a sustainable future as well, but many women around the world are denied the opportunity to learn.

For instance, a state of food and agriculture report indicates that women in many developing countries do not have equal access to agricultural resources and opportunities. According to the report, closing the gender gap between men and women active in agricultural endeavors could reduce the number of people that are undernourished (nearly a billion) by as much as 100 million to 150 million people.

Let’s look at Africa again, where according to a report called “Leveling the Field: Improving Opportunities for Women Farmers in Africa,” agriculture accounts for nearly 40% of the continent’s gross domestic product. The report notes that women have traditionally provided roughly half of all agricultural labor in Africa, yet their access to land, tools, education, and financing is much less than what men are provided.

SAP is doing its part

SAP is committed to ending illiteracy through several vital initiatives and ventures.

In addition to being a cosponsor of Africa Code Week, SAP significantly expanded the code week concept with partners such as Haus des Stiftens gGmbH (Stifter helfen) and Junior Achievement USA. The objective is to reach other regions, such as central and eastern Europe and Latin America, and develop digital literacy curriculums tailored to different age groups and needs. With a continuum of digital literacy programs offered from Latin America to Southeast Asia, these efforts are poised to reach 1 million young people across the globe in 2017.

To accelerate Digital India’s plan of enabling 60 million citizens with digital technologies by 2019, SAP SE launched the first corporate-to-corporate collaborative initiative in India – "Code Unnati" – a multiyear digital literacy and skilling corporate social responsibility movement. SAP will provide the technology infrastructure, expertise on course curriculum, instructions on how to conduct courses, delivery mechanisms, and teachers.

Aspiring to help achieve a world of zero unemployment, SAP launched the Learning for Life program – an inclusive education and workforce-readiness initiative committed to ensuring everyone has the right skills to thrive in a digital world. For example, SAP trains young unemployed graduates in Africa, which increases their chances of securing gainful work. The enterprise-leading openSAP platform offers 140 massive open online courses (MOOCs) and has trained more than 630,000 individuals from over 200 countries since 2013. And BTECH, a digital literacy program for high school students in New York City, provides IT workforce development for low-income students in North America. These are just a few of the many ways in which SAP is putting people and education first – at the heart of digital transformation.

Over the next 15 years and beyond, SAP will continue to advance the achievement of each and every global goal as we improve people’s lives with our dedication, technology, and services. Join us to see how digitalization is helping us achieve global goals by signing up for the free massive open online course on the openSAP platform, Sustainability through Digital Transformation.

Together with other technology companies, SAP is involved in the White House–sponsored initiative “Computer Science for All.” The goal is to help America’s young people develop the technology and business skills they need to succeed in the digital economy. This initiative focuses on the scientific and technical education of K–12 students across the United States.

SAP Labs Israel and the Beit Issie Shapiro Technology Consulting Center have developed IssieBoard – an adaptive Hebrew keyboard app that features adaptations for children and adults with disabilities from visual impairments to learning and intellectual disabilities. The IssieBoard app supports personal adjustments that suit the needs of particular users. For example, the background color can be altered as can the color of different keys and letters. The board can be divided into different color sections for better orientation.

< Back to the Overview