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Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

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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.

To join this effort, you can donate Gifts for Good, such as a school supplies set or a scholarship for a student. You can also sponsor a child, which helps provide them with access to education.

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.

World Children’s Day is celebrated every year on the 20th of November. World Children’s Day offers us an opportunity to promote and celebrate children’s rights that will build a better world for them. ChildFund Australia partners with others to create community and systems change which enables vulnerable children and young people, in all their diversity, to assert and realise their rights.

What is the origin of World Children’s day? 

World Children’s Day, also known as Universal Children’s Day, was first observed on November 20, 1954, with the goal of promoting international cooperation, raising awareness among children around the world, and improving children’s welfare.

The United Nations General Assembly enacted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child on November 20, 1959, a major milestone in children’s rights. The UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child on this day in 1989.

 

What the Convention on the Rights of the Child says:

  • Children are entitled to an education.
  • Children must be treated with decency and respect. They must be cared for, given opportunities to grow, and included in their communities.
  • Children have the right to have their voices heard and to participate in choices that impact them.
  • Children have the right to be safe from violence and prejudice, regardless of where they live or their ethnic or social origins, abilities, birthplace, or other status.

 

What is the theme of World Children’s day 2021?

The UN provides a particular theme every year for World Children’s Day to promote awareness among children, togetherness and improving children’s welfare. The theme of 2021 is “Investing in our future means investing in our children”. 

Why the right to education is vital:

The COVID-19’s economic crisis is threatening to hurt children and families the hardest. The number of children living in multidimensional poverty – those without access to education, health, housing, nutrition, sanitation, or water – might reach 1.2 billion by the end of 2021, with an additional 142 million children falling into monetary poverty. Children in these rural and poor areas don’t have the privilege of being able to have remote online classes and typically put aside their education entirely to support their family. Even before the COVID 19 pandemic, approximately 260 million children, or roughly one in 10, were out of school.

Due to the magnitude and complexity of the issue, driving programs to reach the most vulnerable children are necessary. ChildFund works to alleviate child poverty by ensuring every child experiences a childhood in which they are nurtured, protected and given access to opportunity. 

How to get involved with World Children’s Day activities?

Parents, guardians, family members, teachers, and other role models can follow the following steps for the well-being of children:

  • Actively participate in children’s physical and emotional health.
  • Treat all children with dignity and respect and educate them on their rights on this day.
  • Positive parental or guardian involvement in their children’s education is linked to improved abilities in their children.
  • Consider your children’s sentiments and appreciate their thoughts. 
  • Engage with children in structured activities and even playing games.
  • Enquire about your child’s educational,  daily routine challenges, and work.
  • Encourage children to use their right to voice their thoughts, feelings and opinions.
  • Get involved with programs that protect vulnerable children and their rights.

The Equal Future: Supporting Children’s Rights Everywhere

This World Children’s Day, we invite you to join us in educating children of their rights,  protecting and uplifting children. The more children understand their rights, the more they take charge of their place in our society, and the more we can ensure children thrive. Support vulnerable children this holiday season by getting a ‘Gift for Good’.