Education lights every stage of the journey to a better life, especially for the poor and the most vulnerable. Education’s unique power to act as a catalyst for wider development goals can only be fully realized, however, if it is equitable. That means making special efforts to ensure that all children and young people – regardless of their family income, where they live, their gender, their ethnicity, whether they are disabled – can benefit equally from its transformative power. Education empowers girls and young women, in particular, by increasing their chances of getting jobs, staying healthy and participating fully in society – and it boosts their children’s chances of leading healthy lives. To unlock the wider benefits of education, all children need the chance to complete not only primary school but also lower secondary school. And access to schooling is not enough on its own: education needs to be of good quality so that children actually learn. Given education’s transformative power, it needs to be a central part of any post-2015 global development framework.