By Meghan Bouboulinis
Celebrating This Year’s International Day of Education
The concept of education has been around since the beginning of time. Millions of years ago, even before there was a name for the Scientific Method, people were questioning, creating, testing, and observing everything from fire, to tools, to housing. All across the world, people were inventing new things and demonstrating them to others. One might assume that because of this, education continues to be available internationally across the globe. This is sadly not the case and brings us to the importance of the International Day of Education.
The Importance of Education
Education is a human right, a public good and a public responsibility. Where a child lives should not dictate how much education they receive (or if they receive any at all). The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) shared that today there are about 250 million children and adolescents across the world are out of school and more than 650 million children and adolescents cannot read or do basic math. These are not small numbers; it’s time to change and transform education.
Where Education Matters Most
There is not one singular place where the education of one child is more important than another; education is a basic human right for all. Lack of education is a problem in both developed and underdeveloped countries, often due to equal rights issues. Gender, health, cultural identities, finances, and materials are all reasons that a child’s education may suffer. A lack of teachers and resources often forces children of all ages and abilities to learn in the same classroom which often results in a higher dropout rate. Lack of education as a child leads to a greater unemployment risk as an adult; often creating a domino effect within the family.
Universal Education is a Human Right
Article 26 of The Universal Declaration of Humans Rights lists education as a human right. Education offers children a ladder out of poverty and a path to a successful and promising future. To break the cycle of poverty and increase educational rights for all children, we must promote and work towards inclusive education, equal education, and lifelong opportunities for all countries.
How Long Have We Been Celebrating International Day of Education?
The United Nations Assembly proclaimed January 24 to be recognized and celebrated as International Day of Education. Shockingly, the first International Day of Education was only SIX years ago! That’s correct, January 24, 2019 was the first official celebration. Within the past 6 years, so much has been done to call attention to the importance of education for all and the need of education for peace and development.
This Year’s Theme
The theme for this year’s International Day of Education is “Learning for Lasting Peace” and is dedicated to the crucial role that education and teachers play in countering hate speech. An active commitment to peace is more urgent in today’s world than ever before and education is central to this. This year especially, educators (and everyone!) is encouraged to empower young learners with the necessary knowledge, values, attitudes, and skills and behaviors to become agents of change and peace in their classrooms and communities.
How Can I Celebrate At Home?
The concept of education for all can be a big one for your child, but there are many ways to demonstrate the importance of it right at home! Ask your child about their favorite parts of school, who their friends are, what they like about their teachers. Talk about what school was like when you were their age and compare similarities and differences. Read stories about children who go to school in different places; the library is a great resource for these books!
More information on International Day of Education can be found at the UNESCO website, including articles to help on state, national, and international levels.
By Meghan Bouboulinis