The International Day of Education and Why You Should Care About It


  1. What is the International Day of Education?
  2. Background and historical facts
  3. What’s the theme of the day?
  4. “Changing Course, Transforming Education” explained
  5. Education in times of Covid
  6. 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 and left in a state of ruin. 

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. children in a classroom

What is the International Day of Education? 


Is the International Day of Education a day of celebration? A day of mourning? A day of hope? 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; for others, it is a day where they reflect and mourn everything we have failed to accomplish. 

Despite the fact that education is widely considered to be a human right, a staggering 258 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. 

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. 


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 “Changing Course, Transforming Education”. 

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. According to the United Nations, the key to harnessing that potential is “Changing Course, Transforming Education”. 


“Changing Course, Transforming Education” explained


When the United Nations organisations talk about “Changing Course, Transforming Education” they mean that we need to change the value we place on education in order to allow it to do its work. 

According to UNESCO

“Transforming the future requires an urgent rebalancing of our relationships with each other, with nature as well as with technology that permeates our lives, bearing breakthrough opportunities while raising serious concerns for equity, inclusion and democratic participation.”

By transforming education worldwide – making it more accessible to the 258 million children who do not have any access and making it more relevant to the problems of tomorrow – we can work to overcome humanity’s greatest problems. 


Education in times of Covid


Covid19 has devastated the education system, further worsening the global crisis. According to the World Economic Forum, as a result of Covid19, school closures and economic shocks, students risk losing $17 trillion in lifetime earnings in present value – the equivalent of 14% of today’s global GDP. 

UNESCO, UNICEF and The World Bank recently released a joint report called The State of the Global Education Crisis: A Path to Recovery in which they outlined the devastating impacts that Covid19 has had on education. School closures affected 1.6 billion learners and contributed to the growing numbers of poverty stricken children unable to access education.

As a result of this loss, inequality in education has increased and put poorer students at even more of a disadvantage worldwide. This is part of the reason why the International Day of Education is more important now than it ever has been. 


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.

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