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TiiQu Chosen as Finalist for Social Impact Awards

If the future is to happen at all, it must happen sustainably. When people think of sustainability, they usually think purely in terms of environmental issues. They think of terms like global warming, greenhouse effect and deforestation. While the environment is arguably the most pressing concern from the standpoint of sustainability, there are many other factors at play when it comes to sustainability. There are many other issues that need to be addressed: educational inequalities, economic inequality and social problems are all relevant to sustainability. At TiiQu, our work drives us towards finding solutions to these problems, and the following article will attempt to explain the role each of these issues will play in the creation of a sustainable future.

Firstly, is education access. Despite years of international effort to make education accessible to all, the world has failed to deliver high quality education to every child. According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 200 million children will still be out of education by 2030, and to make matters worse, the COVID-19 pandemic has kept 90% of students out of school, reversing years of educational progress. What bearing does the shortfall in education coverage have on sustainability? The answer is two-fold. The first problem presented by educational inequality is economic: that is, if children - particularly in developing countries - are unable to learn and acquire skills, they will find it more difficult to contribute to the economies of the countries in which they live. Consequently, their countries will make less efficient use of the talent of their younger generations, which may impede economic development.

The second, and arguably more important reason why educational inequality obstructs sustainability, is that education is one of the key methods by which countries can instill in learners the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development. What this means is that the education systems of countries play a role in teaching young people how to live sustainably, and to build sustainable societies (see UN target 4.7). Without this foundation of knowledge, all sorts of aspects of sustainability and development are put in jeopardy: sustainable lifestyles, human rights and gender equality for instance, are all reliant on people being taught sustainable values at a young age. Education is therefore an important social and economic consideration in the context of sustainability. Widening participation in informal and non-formal education is at the forefront of what TiiQu does, and we hope that our work can contribute to increasing the equality, sustainability and accessibility of education around the world.

Secondly, there is the economic aspect of sustainability. It is no surprise that economic growth and employment have an impact on sustainability. After all, the ways in which people work, earn and consume across the world are driving factors for climate change, and the development of nation states. The current problem - again related to the pandemic - is that a global recession looms: 1.6 billion workers in the informal economy face losing their jobs, and the greatest recession since the great depression is on its way. It is therefore imperative that social sustainability initiatives work towards developing more sustainable ways of working that are going to increase global resource efficiency, and reduce environmental costs. Most importantly, we must strive to ‘decouple economic growth from environmental degradation’. Again, at TiiQu, we take the view that the world of work needs to adapt to fit the conditions of the future. We believe that the styles of working of the past are no longer befitting of a world that requires a varied and efficient workforce; a workforce that needs to address the needs not just of the economy or the labour market, but of the environment and society as a whole.

It is for the reasons outlined above that TiiQu is delighted to announce that we have been chosen as one of the finalists of the Social Equity category of the Impact Shakers Awards. We’re really grateful to be included in this award, just as we appreciate the role of organizations who reward entrepreneurship for societal impact. We hope that the award will get the attention of decision-makers in the education and employment sectors, and motivates them to see the world as a place in which learners and workers should be at the very centre of their world, regardless of background, gender or ethnicity.

Image by: Gerhard G.| Pixabay

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