Education: finally acknowledged with a date!
Up until now, education has been the forgotten element of international days. That has now been put straight as for the very first time, 24 January will be celebrated as the International Education Day. On this occasion, Aide et Action has put together a special programme, to be discovered on our website from 21 to 25 January 2019.
There are International Days for the planet, against impoverishment, hunger, for animal protection, for teachers, against AIDS or leprosy. In short, there are all kinds of International Days. Perhaps even too many, is sometimes heard … Despite all those, education was the forgotten element of International Days. The record has now been set straight because last month, on the 3rd December, the United Nations decided to declare January 24th International Education Day. With that, the United Nations has officially wished to acknowledge the importance of education in the build-up of the 2030 Agenda and to reassert the crucial role of education for peace in a world where the number of people in conflict is increasing.
The first International Education Day
So what explains this sudden reversal? Education has not always played a major role on the international scene. Not until only a few years ago did donor countries see education as a development priority and they drastically reduced international aid allocated to it (mainly between 2000 and 2016). With the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015, things have changed dramatically. Not only has education become a development goal in its own right (SDG4), but it has been especially dedicated as “a golden thread”, or a leitmotif that links all SDGs and helps build a fairer and more united world. Education has therefore taken a growing place on the agenda and is now seen by the most important heads of state as a top priority and urgency: the many speeches in favour of education and the large amounts of money allocated in February 2018 during the Refinancing Conference of Global Partnership for Education are clear proof of this. But efforts must not stop there.
Between acknowledgement and future perspectives
In this sense, the creation of an International Education Day constitutes an acknowledgement of the importance of education in establishing resilient and sustainable societies, but it is above all a necessary and salutary reminder to leaders of state, politicians, economists, international organizations, and the general public that mobilization for education must continue and magnify. Because, for the time being, the challenges remain enormous: 263 million children do not go to school and 617 million do not know how to read a simple sentence even after several years on school benches. To achieve free quality education for all, it is estimated that there is currently a deficit of 39 billion euros per year (44 billion USD) and a lack of nearly 69 million teachers. At present, if funding does not increase, the Sustainable Development Goals will not be achieved in 2030 and millions of children, who remain among the most vulnerable people, will be left behind again.
Enforcing the right to education
To meet these challenges, Aide et Action, an international NGO with 35 years of experience in education, is conducting more than 80 projects in 20 countries in Africa, Asia and Europe, including France. Founded above all on the values of freedom, respect, solidarity, equity and integrity, these projects are developed in partnership with the local populations who are best placed and able to provide solutions to their problems.
From early childhood education to vocational training for young adults, through the development of innovative educational projects, teacher training or the creation of school materials, we support more than 2 million people to facilitate lifelong learning and thus promote social and professional integration of the most vulnerable people. Migrant populations in India, illiterate women groups in Burkina Faso, or ethnic minorities in Vietnam are communities that we support on a daily basis.
An exclusive programme by Aide et Action
To mark the importance of this first ever International Education Day, and to remind you how essential our call-up to all is in favor of quality education for all, Aide et Action proposes during the period from 21 to 25 January 2019, a series of exclusive articles dedicated to education in general and to our concrete actions in particular. Discover our programmes, testimonials from our beneficiaries and our vision of the challenges we still face in achieving quality education for all everywhere around the world. As you will see in our articles, access to education changes lives and, with that, the future of thousands of children every day. Together, we can make sure that no one is left behind.
Photo: Vincent Reynaud-Lacroze for AEAI