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? Did your education help you get you where you are today?

Not everyone has the privilege of quality 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 one in five 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 (ACW), 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, providing students and teachers with the opportunity to gain the 21st-century skills needed to thrive in a digital world. Participation in ACW continues to grow, reaching more than 2.3 million youth across 37 countries in 2018.

Women: transforming communities – and nations

Educating women and men equally is another key element of creating a sustainable future. However, many women around the world are denied the opportunity to learn.

SAP is committed to ensuring inclusion in education. For example, in the aforementioned program Africa Code Week, there is more than 46% female participation, but gender equality does not stop with one program. 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. One of the pillars of this program is to ensure that women and girls, especially in rural communities, can create a path to employment through computer skills.

SAP is doing its part

SAP is committed to driving quality education and powering opportunity for all people through digital inclusion initiatives. We address issues of access, adoption, and the application of 21st-century skills to help people succeed in a digital world.

In addition to signature SAP Corporate Social Responsibility programs meant to build digital skills, such as Africa Code Week (Africa) and Code Unnati (India), SAP offers programs across the world reaching more than 93 countries and 2.8 million youth. Programs include Meet and Code (Europe), Latin Code Week (LAC), Early College High Schools (United States, Canada), Let’s Talk Science (Canada), ASEAN Data Science Explorers (Asia), and Young ICT Explorers (Australia), to name a few.

Furthermore, the SAP Social Sabbatical initiative encompasses a portfolio of pro bono volunteering programs where highly diverse teams of SAP employees solve strategic challenges of nonprofits and social enterprises focused on bridging the digital divide. Starting with the flagship program in 2012, SAP has partnered with PYXERA Global to expand this initiative rapidly, and to date more than 1,000 SAP employees have built significant capacity for 340 organizations across 41 countries.

Learning for Life

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 160 massive open online courses and has trained more than 750,000 individuals from over 200 countries since 2013. openSAP is available to anyone in the world interested in learning about the latest technology trends. Courses are offered completely free of charge, and all that anyone needs to sign up is a valid e-mail address. 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. Most recently, SAP has committed the success of its Learning for Life portfolio to support the Global Alliance for YOUth. Launched at World Economic Forum, the Alliance, a cohort of 20 international brands, aims to impact six million youth by 2022, helping them build employability skills.

These are just a few of the many ways in which SAP is putting people and education first – at the heart of digital transformation, as are the following:

  • Through activities like the SAP Young Thinkers program’s Go Digital Nights and college courses, Snap!, a blocks-based open source programming language, has completely transformed coding and programming from an individual experience to a collaborative one. It’s also helping to make the subject of computer science more inclusive as a whole. To help learners get started, a free Snap! online course is available on the openSAP platform.
  • Calliope Mini is a small device that is used in schools in Germany to start children with coding. SAP worked with the Calliope Mini team to produce a course, in German, to help teachers get up to speed with lessons for the Calliope Mini.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Step Up for Students is a nonprofit organization focused on providing scholarships to low-income and special-needs students. But the way to their funds can be tedious. The process sometimes not only is lengthy, but also comes with heavy administrative burdens, which ultimately can result in students missing out on potential opportunities. Together with SAP Ariba solutions, Step Up for Students went digital and developed the MyScholarShop platform, which grants students much quicker access to their funds to customize their education path and helps them reach their goals.

Goal 5: Gender Equality