International Day of Education
Despite the many advances and international and regional political initiatives to ensure that all children have access to education, there is a great gap between the reality and the promise made by governments towards children and their education.
According to the 2016 Global Education Monitoring Report, 61 million children do not have access to basic education and 758 million adults are illiterate, Similarly, UN reports show that due to a lack of trained teachers, poor sanitation facilities and/or inadequate learning materials, an estimated 617 million children are unable to reach minimum proficiency levels in reading.
Furthermore, forced displacement, location and poverty are other factors that lead to the exclusion of children in the education system. Within that context, it is estimated that children from rural areas are more than twice as likely to be out of primary school than those in urban areas. Moreover, in conflict zones, 27 million children are out of school.
Consequently, the 24th of January was declared to be an annual commemoration highlighting the vital role of education in building sustainable societies. Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 3 2018 and in accordance with resolution (73/25), the International Day of Education acts as a reminder that education is a human right as stipulated in Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 28 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention against Discrimination in Education - UNESCO. And as such education is an indispensable right to every human being and an essential catalyst in the exercise of all other human rights and empowering economically and socially marginalized adults and children.
"Recovering and Revitalizing Education for the Covid-19 Generation” is the theme of this year, acknowledging that the covid-19 pandemic caused an unprecedented disruption in the education system globally, which impacted 1.5 billion young people at its peak. It is a message urging states and international actors to recall their responsibility in upholding human rights standards and thus formulating effective and affordable means to ensure that the right to education is respected.
Firstly, the Geneva Institute for Human Rights commends the work done by humanitarian organizations in facilitating the process of teaching and learning in the world, especially in the less developed regions, such as UNESCO and UNICEF.
The Institute strongly appeals to all governments to ensure that the right to education is not compromised or neglected, particularly states in the midst of conflict. Furthermore, the Institute calls on states to take all the necessary measures, including adequate budget allocations, to ensure access to quality, equitable and inclusive education for all without discrimination, and to promote learning opportunities for all, with particular attention to girls, marginalized children, the elderly, persons with disabilities and people with disabilities.
Finally, the Institute calls upon states, organizations of the United Nations system, civil society, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, the private sector, other relevant stakeholders to use this day to enhance international cooperation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal Four to 'ensure the provision of inclusive and quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all' by 2030.