News

Celebrating the International Day of Education in New York!

24/01/2020
, United States of America
04 - Quality Education

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 24 January as International Day of Education, in celebration of the role of education for peace and development and invited UNESCO to facilitate its celebration worldwide.

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.

In New York, Member States joined the President of the General Assembly and UNESCO to call for action. They reaffirmed that learning is the best tool we have to empower people, preserve the planet, build prosperity and foster peace. “Without education we cannot achieve the SDGs” said the Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations.

“Education has the potential to lift those furthest behind out of extreme poverty, to stir hope in children trapped in conflict, to equip communities to recognize and correct inequalities. However, current projections predict that in the year 2030, 40% of youth will not complete secondary education. As we enter the Decade of Action and Delivery we must accelerate our implementation of #SDG4.” President of the UN General Assembly, Mr Tijjani Muhammad-Bande.

The UNESCO Deputy Director-General, Mr Xing Qu, opened the first debate by these strong statement: “Education is the best investment we can make for our future, especially as we move towards a knowledge society. I am thinking of the investments that need to be made in digital education, at a time when one billion girls and women lack the necessary digital skills”.

Then UNESCO presented a new online tool, Education Progress, which will enable members of the public, as well as education planners and partners, to check countries’ progress in achieving global SDG4 education. The tool was developed by UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring Report with the support of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of Germany and will be available in the six official languages of the UN (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Spanish and Russian) and German.

UNESCO office in New York was pleased to facilitate a meeting of the UN Group of Friends of Education and Lifelong Learning, co-chaired by Argentina, Czech Republic, Kenya, Japan and Norway. The Group of Friends held its anniversary meeting at the eve of the International Day of Education to reaffirm the collective commitment to raise funds and coordinate efforts to work toward achieving the SGD4. The Group is an active informal platform for advocacy and outreach on education related initiatives. It consists of members from all regions of the world who are committed to champion equitable and inclusive education for all.

But efforts should not stop at the end of the day. UNESCO has started 2020 with a full programme of work, starting with the launch of a global initiative to reimagine the Futures of Education. The initiative is catalyzing a global debate on how knowledge, education and learning need to be reimagined in a world of increasing complexity, uncertainty, and precarity. Your voice counts and your perspective matters. Inputs from individuals, networks, and organizations will inform the work of the International Commission and shape the global debate. 

Join the debate here!