In The News: International Day of Education
Education takes centre stage at United Nations in 2022
“One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world” – Malala Yousafzai
January 24th, 2022 marks the fourth International Day of Education and kicks off a year that will see the United Nations focus on the future of education.
International Day of Education came about from a 2018 UN resolution to celebrate the role of education in peace and development. This year’s theme, “Changing Course, Transforming Education”, focuses on how to strengthen education as a public endeavour and common good, how to steer the digital transformation, support teachers, safeguard the planet and unlock the potential in every person to contribute to the collective well-being and our shared home.
Ahead of this year’s International Day of Education, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution in December reaffirming its commitment to education for sustainable development, which would “empower learners of all ages with the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes to address the interconnected global challenges we are facing, including climate change, environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity, poverty and inequality.”
More than 1.5-billion children and youth worldwide have been affected by COVID-related school closures and the resolution calls on member states to strengthen efforts to prioritize education in the response and recovery from the pandemic, particularly the safe reopening of educational institutions for in-person learning. Member states also recommitted to “prioritizing students and educators’ health, ensuring that reopening plans are equity-oriented, gender-responsive and inclusive, mainstreaming education for sustainable development as key in building resilient systems.”
As parents, we understand the value of a good education, not only in terms of learning, but also for our children’s socialization and mental health. We must also acknowledge the indispensable role of teaching professionals in these aspects of our children’s lives. This has never been more evident than throughout the two years of the pandemic. With many children forced into remote learning, pre-existing disparities in availability to education and digital technologies have come to the fore. We’ve seen what can work in education and what might need some tweaking. There is a need to reimagine why, how, what, where, and when we learn to help us shape peaceful, just, and sustainable futures.
To address all of this, the United Nations is planning a summit on transforming education set for September. UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said the summit will have the aims of “averting a generational catastrophe and rethinking education systems.” She emphasized that learners must be equipped with skills and knowledge to excel in a rapidly changing world.
There’s a lot to do to achieve these goals. Some of the proposals for renewing education outlined in UNESCO’s recently released global report on the future of education include:
- Moving from teacher-driven lessons centred on individual accomplishment to an emphasis on cooperation, collaboration and solidarity
- Shifting curricula to emphasize ecological, intercultural and interdisciplinary learning
- Rethinking teaching as a collaborative endeavour, rather than an individual practice
- Reimagining schools, including architectures, spaces, times, timetables, and student groupings in diverse ways
- Reconceiving education as something that takes place throughout life and in different cultural and social spaces, and not just in schools and at certain ages
You can read the full report here: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000379707
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