International Day of Education
24 January 2022 marks the fourth celebration of the International Day of Education. This day, first celebrated in 2019, was proclaimed to demonstrate the importance of inclusive, equitable, and quality education for all. Quality education, the fourth of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, is key to escaping poverty, reducing inequalities, and reaching gender equality — all of which are crucial to fostering tolerance and more peaceful societies.
While many of us consider education a fundamental right, millions of children around the world are still denied their right to a basic education. The purpose of this day is to create awareness around the importance of education and highlight ways to help children gain access to it, such as sponsoring a child with ChildFund.
Changing course, transforming education
The theme of International Day of Education 2022 is “Changing course, transforming education.” This January 24th, we are at a critical juncture for the health and future of our societies. As stated by UNESCO, drastic inequality, a wounded planet, growing political polarisation and unrest, and the devastating impact of the global pandemic have led us to an important decision: continue on an unsustainable path, or radically change course.
To transform the direction in which we are headed, we must rebalance our relationships with each other, with nature, and with technology. Education is a key component to achieving this transformation. Quality education provides us with a better ability to join the workforce, earn a living wage and provide for our families, participate in local politics, and understand how to think and act more responsibly towards our environment.
What does inclusive, equitable, and quality education look like?
Currently, thousands of schools around the world, particularly in places such as Sub-Saharan Africa, lack access to drinking water, electricity, computers, and the internet, making it impossible for children to receive quality education. Further, even better-equipped schools do not necessarily have enough qualified teachers, and many children, particularly young girls, are kept out of school.
Sustainable Development Goal 4 aims to achieve inclusive, equitable, and quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Targets of this goal include:
- establishing free primary and secondary education and equal access to pre-primary education for all girls and boys;
- eliminating discrimination in education;
- building and upgrading inclusive and safe schools; and
- increasing the supply of qualified teachers in developing countries, among others.
Creating action to achieve these targets by 2030 will help us ensure inclusive and equitable education for all.
How you can get involved with International Education Day activities
A great place to start is simply to help build awareness about the International Day of Education and the challenges that so many children face around the world that hinder their ability to receive a quality education. Sharing information on social media, starting conversations with your friends and family, or even organising educational events in your community are excellent ways to spread awareness.
Another way to get involved is by donating to organisations working to make education accessible and equitable for all children. At ChildFund, one of our leading programs is focused on providing access to early childhood education for all boys and girls. This includes constructing new schools and renovating existing schools, providing classroom furniture and equipment, and training school teachers and educational leaders.
In the words of Malala Yousafzai, “One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.” This International Day of Education, we invite you to help us change the world.