Celebrating the power of learning on International Day of Education

17/01/2020
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The second International Day of Education will be marked around the world on 24 January in honour of the power of learning and its central role to the well-being of people and the planet. The Day this year focuses on the integrated nature of education and the many ways learning can empower people, preserve the planet, build shared prosperity and foster peace.

It is also a day to highlight the pressing challenges to education worldwide and the fact that countries are off track to meet the commitments they made when they adopted the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals five years ago.

Today, some 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.

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.

Anticipating the future of learning

To overcome these challenges and anticipate the next decades, UNESCO launched "Futures of Education" during the 2019 UN General Assembly, a global initiative to reimagine how knowledge and learning can shape the future of humanity and the planet. Futures of Education has now opened its online consultation process and is asking people around the world to contribute to the debate.

Following International Day of Education, the International Commission on the Futures of Education initiative will convene for its first meeting on 28-29 January at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. Chaired by the President Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia, the commission will focus on rethinking the role of education, learning and knowledge in light of the tremendous challenges and opportunities of predicted, possible, and preferred futures. It is mandated to develop a flagship global report on the futures of education for release in 2021.   

Celebrations in Paris, New York and around the world

International Day of Education will be celebrated at UNESCO with an event organized at Paris Headquarters in partnership with the Centre for Research and Interdisciplinary (CRI). The event will feature talks and discussions with education leaders from around the world, including youth.

The United Nations in New York will mark the Day with a call to increase political commitment to education at an event organized by the Office of the President of the General Assembly in close collaboration with UNESCO and other Permanent Missions of Member States. The GEM Report will also launch its new online tool to measure education progress around the word.

UNESCO’s learning cities will also be celebrating International Day of Education with events planned around the world.