Building peace in the minds of men and women

International Day of Education

24 January

Education is a human right, a public good and a public responsibility.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 24 January as 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.


"At the peak of the pandemic, schools were actually closed for 91% of learners, or 1.5 billion pupils and students. It then became apparent to everyone that education was a global public good and school was more than just a place of learning: it was also a place that provided protection, well-being, food and freedom. (...) On this International Day of Education, UNESCO invites you to promote education as a fundamental right and the most powerful aid to development that we have. Defending the future of this right means defending the right to the future." - Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director General, on the occasion of International Day of Education 2021.


The third International Day of Education (January 24) will be marked on Monday 25 January 2021 under 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 global event for the Day will be planned along three main segments: learning heroes, innovations, and financing. It will be organized in partnership with the UNESCO New York Office, UNHQ, the Global Partnership for Education and the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies (CRI), and feature the participation of partners from the Global Education Coalition. Capturing the spirit of the International Day of Education, CRI and UNESCO have spearheaded a Learning Planet Festival to celebrate learning in all contexts and share innovations that fulfill the potential of every learner, no matter what their circumstances. The CRI will also be unveiling the winners of an essay contest of “Le Petit Prince”.  

Celebrations around the world

  • Beijing, China, 20 January - The China Education Association for International Exchange organizes an event co-hosted by Beijing Normal University to call on attention to “Education Equality and Sustainable Development in the Post-Pandemic Era.” Features participation of Mr Tian Xuejun, Vice-Minister of Education and Chairperson of the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO; Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education; the Africa Union Commission, ambassadors, teachers and students.
  • Toronto, Canada, 20-22 January - Co-organized by York International and the UNESCO Chair in Reorienting Education Towards Sustainability in cooperation with strategic partners International Association of Universities (IAU), Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCU) and Okayama University (Japan), the Conference will discuss the evolving status of international mobility in higher education in Canada and globally, critically reflect on where we are now, and to collectively build a future vision of international mobility that is inclusive, innovative and responsive to the global sustainability challenges of our times. More information
  • Alexandria, Egypt, 24 January - The Learning Lab of the University of Alexandria in Egypt coordinated by Pr. Ghada El Khayat and the Learning Lab of the University of Sousse in Tunisia coordinated by Pr. Lilia Cheniti organize a webinar on Sunday January 24th, 2021 named "Let’s celebrate” under the theme ‘Recover and Revitalize Education for the COVID-19 Generation’ identified by Unesco for this year celebration. Experts from the four countries involved in the LETS Learning Labs network will participate in the discussion. More information
  • Manila, Philippines, 25 January - The International Cooperation Office of the Department of Education of the Philippines organizes an event on “Stories of Revitalization and Excellence: 2021 International Day of Education Virtual Forum.” The event puts the spotlight on the significant role of teachers in making education work for peace and development. Features interventions by the Secretary of the Department of Education Leonor Magtolis Briones; SEAMEO Secretariat Director Dr Ethel Valenzuela; Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education; school principals and teachers.