Goal 4: Quality education
Sustainable development and economic growth rely on adequate human capital, which is ensured through education. While, during the transition period, relatively high public investment in education in Moldova (on average above 7 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), which is higher than the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) level) ensured high enrolment rates at different levels of education, Moldova still faces significant challenges as not every student is enrolled in mandatory education, especially those in vulnerable situations.
Although the most recent 2015 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) evaluation concludes there has been a positive evolution in Moldova’s students’ assessments (a 15 points increase in the scores for science, +28 points for reading and +23 points for mathematics compared to 2009 PISA, with better performance of girls compared to boys), the quality of education has decreased and the link to labour market needs has weakened. Thus, the share of youth without specialized education is increasing, and the skills of new graduates do not meet the expectations of employers, which results in a low labour productivity in the country and slow economic growth.
In Moldova, Goal 4 envisages achieving universal and inclusive education, but also preparing the youth and adults to better fit the labour market. The goal’s targets aim to increase access to education for all, including vulnerable groups, such as persons with disabilities, and also to provide quality education at each level: form early childhood development care to higher education. It is important that the Agenda envisages not only the role of new entrants on the labour market, but also those with outdated skills or no skills at all in the context of the changing needs of the Moldovan economy. Also, important values for the society, such as sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, a green economy, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity will be promoted through their integration in the educational curricula. One of the challenges to be also addressed relates to ensuring education facilities that are child-, disability- and gender-sensitive, and providing a safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all.