Paris, 24 January 2022 (TDI): As part of its celebration of the role education plays in promoting peace and development, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed January 24 as the International Day of Education.

The UN General Assembly declared January 24 as International Day of Education on December 3, 2018. A country cannot achieve gender equality or end the cycle of poverty that leaves millions of children, youth, and adults behind without equitable and inclusive quality education and lifelong opportunities for all.


“In these exceptional times, business as usual remains no longer an option. If we are to transform the future, if we are to change course, we must rethink education,” states Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General of UNESCO.

A new social contract for education should be forged as called for by the UNESCO report on the Futures of Education, released last November. Past wrongs must be righted and the digital transformation must be centralized on inclusion and equity.

Education is needed to fully contribute to sustainable development—for instance, by integrating environmental education into all curricula and by training teachers in this field.


The fourth International Day of Education is being celebrated on January 24, 2022, under the theme “Changing Course, Transforming Education.” UNESCO’s recent global Futures of Education report detailed that to transform the future, relationships with each other, with nature, and with the technology that permeates our lives must be rebalanced, both of which provide breakthrough opportunities while posing serious concerns about equity, inclusion, and democratic participation.

On this year’s International Day of Education, the most significant transformations that need to be fostered to realize everyone’s fundamental right to education will be highlighted along with building a more sustainable, inclusive, and peaceful future.

The Director-General underscored that in this year’s session, making education a public endeavor for the common good will be discussed along with evaluating on how to steer the digital revolution, support teachers, safeguard the planet and unlock the potential in every person to contribute to collective well-being.

Knowledge Hub for SDGs

Today, the International Day of Education is being celebrated under the theme of “Changing Course, Transforming Education.” The celebration, led by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), will highlight the most critical changes required to realize everyone’s fundamental right to an education and to secure a more sustainable, inclusive, and peaceful future.

UNESCO’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights enshrines the right to education in article 26. Elementary education should be independent and mandatory. Adopted in 1989, the Convention on the Rights of the Child specifies all countries must ensure that higher education is accessible to all.

The international community recognized education was essential for achieving all 17 goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development when it adopted it in September 2015. Sustainable Development Goal 4 specifically aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030.”

Challenges to Achieving Universal Education

Children can escape poverty through education and take steps toward a promising future through education. However, 258 million children and adolescents around the world do not have the opportunity to enter or complete school; 617 million children and adolescents are unable to read or compute basic math problems.

Furthermore, fewer than 40% of girls in sub-Saharan Africa complete lower secondary school, and some four million children and youth refugees are out of school.

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The right to education of these children is being violated, and this is unacceptable.

In the absence of inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong opportunities for all, countries will be unable to achieve gender equality and break the cycle of poverty that has left millions of children, youth, and adults behind.