Goal 4: Quality Education

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

Education enables upward socioeconomic mobility and is a key to escaping poverty. Consequently, 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 pace of innovation is rapidly accelerating, causing exponential socioeconomic changes. People are understandably concerned about the future of work. According to The World Economic Forum, over 60% of children entering primary school today will eventually have jobs that do not exist yet. More than 250 million children remain out of school, but even when traditional education is available, it has not universally kept pace to prepare youth for the current or future world of work. The World Economic Forum estimates that more than half (54%) of all employees will require significant reskilling by 2022. The World Bank estimates that 60% of the world’s population remains excluded from the ever-expanding digital economy, the new economy. Such exclusion is both unjust and unsustainable. Governments need to create the right conditions, but corporations are in a unique position to contribute—especially companies like SAP.

With more than 437,000 customers in 180+ countries, SAP is connected to 77% of the world’s transaction revenue, 78% of the world’s food, and 58% of UN member governments. Just recently, SAP has embarked on a partnership with UNICEF, focused on developing scalable education and workforce models. Key to this effort will be deep partnership with local governments to ensure the investment is sustainable and directly integrated into the formal and informal education systems. Our collaboration aims to positively impact more than 1.5 million young people with 21st-century digital and life skills by 2022.

With such a major role in shaping the modern economy, few organizations are better positioned to help people become—and stay—relevant in a digital world. SAP’s education and workforce readiness portfolio, Learning for Life, tackles this opportunity head-on. The portfolio is developed through long-term multi-stakeholder partnerships and leverages SAP’s technology, talent, and ecosystem to effect systemic change in education and workforce readiness, powering opportunity for all people through digital inclusion. SAP Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs specifically target underserved or marginalized people, communities, and nations. SAP’s goal is to help all people attain relevant 21st-century skills to secure decent, meaningful work, including entrepreneurial pursuits, in a digital world. A focus on inclusive, adaptive lifelong learning spurs future innovation, creates a sustainable future, and fuels economic prosperity.

Learning for Life

Aspiring to help achieve a world of zero unemployment, SAP launched the Learning for Life program. This is 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, increasing their chances of securing gainful work. The enterprise-leading openSAP platform offers 170 massive open online courses and has trained more than 900,000 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.

SAP is doing its part

SAP is putting the SDGs first in academia. As part of the United Nations High Level Political Forum in New York in July, SAP supported UN Environment and the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) program to foster a global movement of higher education institutions working together to teach sustainable development; encourage research and dissemination of sustainable development knowledge; promote green campuses and support local sustainability efforts; and engage and share information with international networks.

Furthermore, SAP Corporate Social Responsibility is committed to driving inclusive 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.

One way of how SAP is addressing the issue is by empowering Africa’s next generation innovators with technology skills. SAP partners with academia on the Enterprise Systems for Africa curriculum that has trained over 5,000 students across 13 African countries on SAP software, preparing workforce-ready graduates and reducing youth unemployment.

Africa Code Week (Africa) and Code Unnati (India) are just two of SAP’s signature Corporate Social Responsibility programs meant to build digital skills. In 2019, SAP digital skills and coding programs trained 56,000 teachers, engaged 4.5 million young people and spanned 105 countries. 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 1,250 SAP employees have built significant capacity for more than 400 organizations across 50+ countries impacting many lives across the world.

SAP’s largest global volunteering initiative is Global Month of Service. For 15 years, employees have volunteered for different projects during the month of October. But the need for volunteers doesn’t go away when corporate campaigns like Month of Service end. To keep pace with changing community needs globally, SAP CSR has shifted its support model to enable and encourage volunteers to get involved when and where the need arises.

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. As SAP is committed to ensuring inclusion in education, together with Karlie Kloss, an international supermodel and entrepreneur, SAP aims to increase access to STEAM opportunities for young women. Karlie and her coding organization Kode with Klossy are helping to drive meaningful experience by bridging the technical skills gap, encouraging and enabling the next generation of innovators to pursue their passion within science, technology, engineering, arts and maths (STEAM) in a technology-driven world.

Another example that shows that SAP is committed to ensuring inclusion in education, is Africa Code Week, with more than 46% female participation. But gender inequality does not end 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.

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 activities:

  • 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 which 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.
  • We are facing enormous environmental and social challenges. Solving these will require all of us to understand the issues as well as actively addressing them. Businesses have a key role to play in moving towards a sustainable future. The new openSAP course „Sustainability: Learning from Leading Companies“ explores the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and provides insights on how to integrate sustainability into business strategy and operations.
  • As a partner of the We Are Family Foundation, SAP is supporting its Three Dot Dash global teen leader initiative. Every year, about 30 global teen leaders who are positively changing their communities are being identified and connected to mentors, policy makers, industry leaders and educational influencers who can help them access global networks and partners. This year, the theme of the International Youth Day was “Transforming Education”, and the point was to make education more relevant and inclusive for all youth. The education-focused global teen leaders and the We are Family Foundation support Learning for Life.
  • 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 can be lengthy, and it 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.
  • Tuition costs to study at Purdue University, one of the Big Ten schools, are currently lower than they were in 2012 (in inflation-adjusted dollars), which enables students to graduate debt-free. By implementing SAP S/4HANA, the university was able to address America’s college affordability crisis by optimizing its administration processes, which cut their paper forms by more than 600,000 and reduced cycle times, making it more cost-efficient.
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Goal 5: Gender Equality