International Day of Education 2020
The right to education is one of the 17 Global Goals included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” On 19 December 2019, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the resolution entitled 'Education for Sustainable Development in the framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development'.
The UN General Assembly dedicated 24 January as the International Day of Education, in celebration of the role of education for bringing peace and development. The right to education has been recognized as a human right in Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
The 2020 theme "Learning for people, planet, prosperity, and peace" emphasizes the integrated nature of education, the UN goals and highlights the collective development aims. In this context, education becomes a main topic of the UN Agenda regarding the problem of inequalities.
"If we invest wisely and equitably in children's education, we have the best possible chance of lifting children out of poverty by empowering them with the skills they need to access opportunities, and create new ones for themselves," said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.
Although global literacy rates have increased since 1970, latest UNESCO data regarding education indicate that around 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 four million children and youth refugees are out of school.
Nearly one in three adolescent girls from the poorest households around the world has never been to school, according to a report entitled Addressing the learning crisis: An urgent need to better finance education for the poorest children released by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) on January 21, 2020. It also reveals that “Forty-four per cent of girls and 34 per cent of boys (10-19 years old) from the poorest families have never attended school or dropped out before completing primary education.“
The report used data from 42 countries to find that public education resources, in general, tend to benefit children from rich urban households first, and those from poor rural households last. Some of the major barriers that limit children’s access to quality education are poverty, discrimination due to gender, disability, ethnic origin or language of instruction, physical distance from schools and poor infrastructure.
“Taking action for education also means taking action for prosperity - because education is the best investment for the future. Education is an opening up to others, a path of intelligence which leads to intercultural understanding, to reconciliation, to fellowship.” “States and associations, teachers and parents of students: everyone, in their own way, has a role to play in making the right to education a reality for all. It is our responsibility to future generations.”
— Ms Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of the International Day of Education, 24 January 2020
A new online platform launched by UNESCO waspresentedduringthe UNcelebration of the International Day of Education in New York: https://en.unesco.org/futuresofeducation/. It is expected that the International Commission on the Futures of Education will release a report on the future of education on November 2021.
The International Day of Education is another opportunity to promote the right of every child to learn and raise public awareness about education as a universal human right.
For further information, please visit the UN website: https://www.un.org/en/observances/education-day
You are invited to read more about the importance of education from the point of view of the Seventh-day Adventist Church:
Pastor Nelu Burcea, PhD
Liaison to the United Nations