The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 24 January as International Day of Education, in celebration of the role of education for peace and development.
Without inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong opportunities for all, UNESCO says countries will not succeed in achieving gender equality and breaking the cycle of poverty that is leaving millions of children, youth, and adults behind.
“This day is the occasion to reaffirm fundamental principles. Firstly, education is a human right, a public good and a public responsibility. Secondly, education is the most powerful force in our hands to ensure significant improvements in health, to stimulate economic growth, to unlock the potential and innovation we need to build more resilient and sustainable societies. Lastly, we urgently need to call for collective action for education at global level,” said Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director General, in her message on the occasion of the International Day of Education.
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Today, according to UNESCO, 262 million children and youth still do not attend school; 617 million children and adolescents cannot read and do basic math; 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.
As the world marks the very first International Education Day, UNESCO calls on governments and all partners to make universal quality education a leading priority.