24 January 2023
The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 24 January as International Day of Education, in celebration of the role of education for peace and development.
In light of the events in Afghanistan and increasing threat to the right to education, Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, has emphasized that the 2023 International Day of Education will be devoted to Afghan girls and women:
No country in the world should bar women and girls from receiving an education. Education is a universal human right that must be respected. The international community has the responsibility to ensure that the rights of Afghan girls and women are restored without delay. The war against women must stop.
Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO
In Afghanistan, 2.5 million (80%) of school-aged girls and young women are out of school, 1.2 million of whom were denied access to secondary schools and universities following the decision of the de facto authorities. On 20 December 2022, this unacceptable situation was brought to another level following the announcement of the suspension, until further notice, of women’s access to universities, affecting over 100,000 female students attending government and private higher education institutions. The achievements made in the country during the last 20 years are at stake. During this period, the number of women in higher education increased by almost 20 times and before the recent suspension one out of three young women were enrolled in universities.
Globally, the cost of under-investment in education imperils our common future. Education remains in a situation of crisis: six out of 10 children cannot read and understand a simple story at age 10; 244 million children and youth are out of school, and 771 million adults are illiterate.
This day contributes to a global commitment to Education 2030 Goals, and on this occasion UNESCO will publish a global report, the 2023 SDG4 Scorecard showing how fast countries are progressing towards their national benchmarks on Sustainable Development Goal 4 (quality education). So far, three in four countries have submitted benchmarks, to be achieved by 2030 for at least one of the key SDG4 indicators. The work on benchmarks shows an acute lack of data on education. Half of countries have no data on learning or the percentage of trained teachers in primary schools; a third have no data on completion or out-of-school rates.
The International Day calls on governments, the international community and key stakeholders to stand by their commitments to prioritize investment in education and educational transformation in order to reverse the down sliding on the SDGs and unlock accelerated progress. Building on the global momentum generated by the UN Transforming Education Summit in September 2022, this year’s Day will call for maintaining strong political mobilization around education and chart the way to translate commitments and global initiatives into action. Education must be prioritized to accelerate progress towards all the Sustainable Development Goals against the backdrop of a global recession, wars, growing inequalities and the climate crisis.
Permanent link: http://en.unesco.kz/2023-international-day-of-education-to-invest-in-people-prioritise-education