On the International Day of Education, UNESCO launched its new meeting point at the United Nations Headquarter in New York. A kiosk was inaugurated by the Deputy Director-General of UNESCO, joined by several members of the UN Group of Friends of Education and Lifelong Learning, co-chaired by Argentina, Czech Republic, Kenya, Japan and Norway.
The Kiosk is located at the Concourse level of the visitor’s entrance and proposes an interactive photo booth presented in French and English language modes. A touch screen content control allows the visitor to choose from several videos that are displayed on the wall.
Education is critical to achieve the 2030 Agenda. According to UNESCO figures, 258 million children are still out of school and many of those attending school learn poorly as two-thirds of the 411 million children who are deficient in reading and mathematics attend educational establishments.
“To face the challenges of tomorrow, not only do we need massive investment, but an overhaul of educational systems is necessary,” said the Director-General.
What better way to convince stakeholders to increase their investment in education than to listen to those who believe that education makes dreams come true?
Come and listen to Rachidatou who live in Bobo-Dioulasso, the second largest city in Burkina Faso, where literacy rates are steadily improving but are still markedly lower for women than men. Rachidatou Sana, 11, is already an outstanding pupil. But she will have to find her own solution in the fight to keep on with her studies. Like many girls her age in Burkina Faso, Rachidatou was born to poor parents. She is daily torn between home chores, earning a living and studying to better her situation. All she wants is an equal chance, the same as everyone else. “I want to become a nurse to help others and my family”.
Prathibha Balakrishnan (38) is a teacher to the Betta Karumba people at the village of Kadichanokolli deep in the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve in southern India. Every day, she overcomes very large obstacles on the 7 km dirt road she walks to get to school - elephants. When she arrived in the village 11 years ago, there was no electricity, no school and no healthcare. The Betta Karumba community mostly work on tea and coffee plantations and the level of illiteracy is high.
All of us have stories about a wonderful teacher or about a moment when the acquisition of a new skill opened up a world of opportunities for us. Let us continue the discussion beyond International Education Day to make an ongoing plea for education.