The 24th of January marks the International Day of Education, the second one since the commemoration was adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly back in 2018.

Education is among the 17 Sustainable Goals (SDG) that are set to be accomplished by 2030. Specifically, the goal is “to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”

The commemoration of the International Day of Education is one platform to increase the visibility and awareness of the importance of education to our world.

A basic right

Education is a basic right of everyone, regardless of origin and circumstances.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), to be educated is to have the ability to live in dignity and to have the capacity to understand the world and shape the future in a manner that is informed, peaceful, and sustainable,

Truly enough, education means more than just gaining a higher level of knowledge or a shot on employment opportunities so as to improve one’s quality of life and economic status.

All the other 16 SDGs require education in order to fully actualize. A deeper understanding of the world is a key ingredient in finding a solution to the problems that plague our society.

People, planet, prosperity, and peace 

In line with this, this year’s theme is “Learning for people, planet, prosperity, and peace.” Education is  closely linked with these four aspects:

People

Taking a humanistic approach to education takes into account both the individual and the collective. A humanistic approach to education is key to both personal and community development. At the same time, humanistic education is also a catalyst in eliminating poverty, inequality, and improving the overall well-being of people.

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Planet

The severe lack of education about the state of the planet and our responsibilities is one reason why our climate is worsening faster than we expected. Education is an ingredient in the materialization of environmentally sustainable societies. Visible change, in this case, begins with a change of mindset.

Prosperity

Providing accessible, equitable education for everyone is crucial for inclusive growth. More opportunities, better income, and lesser poverty levels will be gained with education in top priority.

Peace

According to UNESCO, education is a necessary condition for political participation, inclusion, advocacy, and democracy. They said that upon the study of 50 years worth of data across 100 countries, conflict is more likely in places where gaps in education access are wide.

Key actions

In order to make equitable education possible, UNESCO recommended key actions to take:

  • Strengthen collective action
  • Allocate sufficient funds to literacy programmes
  • Increase cross-sector cooperation
  • Include migrants, displaced persons, and refugees in national education
  • Empower girls and women through gender-responsive education planning
  • Strengthen education for global citizenship and sustainable development
  • Design learning tools and materials that promote learning beyond just the basic skills
  • Ensure that all teachers are adequately prepared and supported to deliver quality education for all
  • Mobilize resources for financing education, prioritizing those that are most in need.

“High-level political authorities and citizens, 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,” according to UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay.

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