January 24th is observed as the International Day of Education around the world, it highlights the importance of Education as a human right, a public good, and a public responsibility. It advocates that quality education is not a privilege but a human right to which everyone is entitled.
The United Nations General Assembly on 3rd December 2018 adopted with consensus a resolution proclaiming 24th January as International Day of Education. Nigeria along with 58 other member states co-authored the resolution.
The adoption of resolution celebrates the role of education for peace and development. It also highlights the unwavering political will to support transformative actions for inclusive, equitable, and quality education for all.
Subsequently, the international community reiterated that education plays a key role in building sustainable and resilient societies and contributes to the achievement of all other Sustainable Development Goals.
In particular, education offers children a ladder out of poverty. It also provides them with a path to a promising future.
Besides, about 244 million children and adolescents around the world are out of school, approximately 617 million children and adolescents cannot read and do basic math.
Moreover, 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.
Certainly, 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.
UNESCO Director General’s Statement
On the International Day of Education, the Director General of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Audrey Azoulay, highlighted the importance of Education in peace and development.
He said that hatred starts with words, words that discriminate, divide and dehumanize; words that undermine democracy, spread ignorance, instill fear, and can even precede the worst of crimes.
Subsequently, when these words go unchecked, when gender based, racist, antisemitic, and xenophobic hate speech is allowed to proliferate, it poses an existential threat to human rights, democracy, and peace.
Because if hatred starts with words, peace starts with education. What we learn changes how we view the world and influences how we treat others. Education must therefore be at the heart of our efforts to achieve and maintain world peace.
In 2023, UNESCO also published the guide “Addressing hate speech through education” to help decision-makers strengthen their public policies in this area.
Also Read: World Braille Day 2024
In Particular, the UNESCO Recommendation on Education for Peace, Human Rights and Sustainable Development adopted by our 194 Member States in November 2023, is a major milestone in this regard.
He emphasized that UNESCO looks forward to supporting education reforms based on this Recommendation across the world.
On this day, your commitment to defending the right to a quality education, one that recognizes the human rights of each and every individual, means committing to a peaceful future for all, where everyone can live a life of dignity, with mutual understanding and respect.