"Education is a human right, a public good, and a public responsibility." - UNESCO
Monday, January 24, 2022 marked the fourth annual International Day of Education with the theme, "Changing Course, Transforming Education." Nurturing and embracing transformation can help fulfill everyone's fundamental right to education and build a more sustainable, inclusive future.
Here in the United States, we often take education for granted. Students often complain about having homework or waking up early to catch the bus to school, but many children and youth around the world face obstacles that prevent them from getting the high-quality education that they deserve.
According to the United Nations, about 258 million children and adolescents around the world don't have the opportunity to enter or complete school, and 617 million children cannot read or do basic math. Inclusive and equitable education can create lifelong opportunities for all—and achieving gender equality and breaking the cycle of poverty begins with education.
"In these exceptional times, business as usual is no longer an option. If we are to transform the future, if we are to change course, we must rethink education," says UNESCO's secretary general, Audrey Azoulay.
This year's International Day of Education theme, "Changing Course, Transforming Education," is meant to generate discourse around strengthening education as both a public endeavor and a common good; steering the digital transformation of education, one we never could have imagined just a few short years ago; and supporting teachers and safeguarding the planet.
This year on International Day of Education, it's critical that we remember that education can unlock the potential in every person to contribute to the collective well-being and our shared home.
While this day may only fall once a year, education can be celebrated anywhere and anytime. We can show our appreciation for learning in a variety of ways, but one good place to start is by thanking those who take the time to teach and help us learn. You can celebrate no matter where you are, this includes in school, in your community, at home, or even online. Learning happens in many different ways and can happen anywhere!