- What is the International Day of Education?
- Background and historical facts
- What’s the theme of the day?
- “Learning for lasting peace” explained
- What impact does the day have on the future of education?
Education is heralded as one of the most important parts of our communities. Despite this, in many parts of the world – both at home and abroad – education is often neglected.
This is why the United Nations decided to dedicate a special day to celebrating education and the role that it plays in the world. As well as celebrating education, the International Day of Education looks to the future with optimism at the ways that education can work to end war, eradicate hunger and bring about a harmonious world for all people who live in it.
What is the International Day of Education?
Is the International Day of Education a day of celebration? A day of giving teachers and tutors a not-too-condescending pat on the back and nod of acknowledgement? Inspirationally, sadly and optimistically, it is all of the above.
For some people, the International Day of Education is about celebrating the wonderful achievements of education around the world.
Despite the fact that education is widely considered to be a human right, a staggering 244 million children worldwide do not attend school. It is for children such as these that it is important that we mark and commemorate the International Day of Education. Fortunately, this is a decrease from 2018, when 258 million children did not attend school.
According to UNESCO;
“Education is one of the key ways that we address inequality and work on healing our damaged planet.”
Education is how we teach kids to look after the environment and also how we teach them to process and avoid the horrors and injustices of war, fighting and conflict, among other key skills for life.
Background and historical facts
On the 3rd of December 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution known as the International Day of Education. The resolution recognised the importance that education plays in the future of humanity from building resilient and sustainable societies, to eradicating poverty and hunger. The resolution states that education contributes to health, promotes gender equality and can reduce inequality, and promotes peace, the rule of law and respect for human rights.
Following the adoption of the resolution, the first International Day of Education took place on January 24th 2019 is now marked every January 24th.
What is the theme of the day?
Some people will say that the theme of the International Day of Education is obviously education, but it’s so much more than that. The theme focuses on the future: specifically, the potential for a better future.
This year’s theme for the International Day of Education is “learning for lasting peace.” UNESCO is dedicating this year's day to the crucial role education and teachers play in countering hate speech, a phenomenon which has snowballed in recent years with the use of social media, which, according to UNESCO, is "damaging the fabric of our societies."
The International Day of Education celebrates the potential that education has for unlocking and securing a more harmonious future – whether that is domestically or internationally.
Education is the driving force behind society’s move to equality. Whether it is teaching about social justice, human rights or gender equality, education is helping children and young people see the ways in which our own community can improve itself by moving away from outdated thoughts and ideas.
There are even arguments that education can put democracies back on track.
The International Day of Education is about seeing the value and worth that education has for the future of humanity: socially, politically and environmentally. The theme relates to an active commitment to peace which is more urgent today than ever, with Education playing a central to this endeavor.
"Learning for Lasting peace" explained
When the United Nations organisations talk about “learning for lasting peace,” they're looking for a transformative peace, to help empower learners with the necessary knowledge, values, attitudes and skills and behaviours to become agents of peace in their communities.
“The world is seeing a surge of violent conflicts paralleled by a concerning rise of intolerance and
discrimination. In particular, hate speech can take dangerous forms that not only causes harm at the
personal level and incites group-targeted violence but is also an attack on inclusion, diversity and
human rights. In this context, an active commitment to peace is more urgent than ever."
A transformed and well-resourced education system can be effective as a long-term preventative tool that protects, builds and sustains peace before, during and after a conflict. In period of crises, UNESCO believe it is essential to ensure continuity of learning, especially for those marginalized, and mainstream education as part of global peacebuilding efforts.
What impact does the day have on the future of education?
The International Day of Education might not have huge immediate effects. But it is an opportunity for world leaders, businesses, schools, parents, children and everyone else to reflect on the importance that education plays in the world and to help us decide what steps we can take as a global community to push for an education system which is fairer, more effective and more powerful in harnessing change.
Want to learn more?
- Visit the Unesco website to learn more about the International day of Education.
- United Nations are having its Summit of the Future in September 2024, where you can register for consultation or organise a group to help engage to help secure the futures of children across the world.