International Day of Education

One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world! ~ Malala Yousafzai

Education is a basic human right! It transforms lives and is a great social leveler.

Education is a human right, a public good and a public responsibility. Education to essential to reduce inequalities and improve health, to achieve gender equality and eliminate child marriage, to protect our planet’s resources, fight hate speech, xenophobia and intolerance, and to nurture global citizenship. Yet, there are at least 250 million children, adolescents and youth are out of school, most of them girls with yet millions more who attend school are not mastering the basics. This is a violation of their human right to education and the world cannot afford a generation of children and young people who lack the skills they need to compete in the 21st century economy, nor can we afford to leave behind half of humanity.

In 2018, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 24 January as the International Day of Education, in celebration of the role of education for peace and development. Without inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong opportunities for all, countries will not succeed in achieving gender equality and breaking the cycle of poverty that is leaving millions of children, youth and adults behind.

Today, 258 million children and youth still do not attend school; 617 million children and adolescents cannot read and do basic math; less than 40% of girls in sub-Saharan Africa complete lower secondary school and some four million children and youth refugees are out of school. Their right to education is being violated and it is unacceptable. Education transforms lives and is at the heart of UNESCO’s mission to build peace, eradicate poverty and drive sustainable development.

The right to education is enshrined in article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which calls for free and compulsory elementary education. The Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted in 1989, goes further to stipulate that countries shall make higher education accessible to all. When it adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015, the international community recognized that education is essential for the success of all 17 of its goals. Sustainable Development Goal 4, in particular, aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” by 2030.

This year is the third International Day of Education which took place yesterdat and will be marked today with the theme ‘Recover and Revitalize Education for the COVID-19 Generation’. Now is the time to power education by stepping up collaboration and international solidarity to place education and lifelong learning at the centre of the recovery. The theme has three main segments: learning heroe, innovations, and financing.

So today, in honour of the International Day of Education, if there is a child near you who are not yet in school, please ensure that they get their basic universal right and get an education!

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