The University of Auckland, New Zealand’s largest university, has a strong commitment to sustainability and making a positive social impact through its partnerships, research, teaching, community engagement and knowledge transfer. This institution has a long-standing commitment to providing inclusive and equitable quality education, as well as lifelong learning opportunities for all.

The SDG Hub offers undergraduate and graduate programs in Education with a focus on Education Practice, Educational Leadership, Early Childhood Education and Higher Education. It aims to increase access, retention and academic achievement for Māori and Pacific Islander students as well as students from economically marginalized communities.  The university also hosts the Higher Education Research Network, whose members undertake projects to increase global understanding of the impact of higher education.

The university’s SDG report highlights some of the work underway and includes a section about efforts specific to SDG 4. In response to COVID-19, a team is working on supporting schoolteachers as they return to the classroom and start in-person instruction again. Te Rito Toi provides detailed lesson plans and classroom activities using an arts and wellbeing approach to engage children, while helping them navigate the uncertainty and stress of the crisis.

Given significant science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teaching shortages in New Zealand, particularly in low income rural areas, the university provides free interactive learning and teaching resources using technology in innovative ways to support teachers in STEM subjects. Currently, 148 schools in New Zealand are using these STEM online resources.

The University of Auckland has also addressed concerns about the decrease in literacy achievement during school breaks. The Summer Learning Journey was developed as a comprehensive and free digital literacy program for school students that has been designed to encourage them to continue reading over the summer holiday. The program includes a mixture of reading and writing activities for students to choose from.

A research project particularly relevant to SDG 4 includes work with digital technologies in economically disadvantaged schools. Developing in Digital Worlds is a four-year study conducted by the Woolf Fisher Research Centre at the University of Auckland. It aims to identify links between teaching, family participation and game-based learning to promote educational outcomes and equity. The results of the research are available here.

Click here to learn more about the UNAI SDG Hubs.