24-01-2023 : The International Day of Education is a day celebrated on January 24th, recognized by the United Nations General Assembly as a way to acknowledge the significance of education for peace and development.
In 2023, UNESCO’s Director-General Audrey Azoulay has chosen to focus on Afghan girls and women, as 80% of school-aged Afghan girls and young women are currently not in school, with 1.2 million denied access to secondary education and universities. UNESCO has recently adapted its efforts to support continued education in difficult circumstances. The theme for the 2023 International Day of Education is “Invest in People, Prioritize Education” and the goal is to build on the momentum generated by the UN Transforming Education Summit in September 2022 and to encourage continued political action for education.
This day is observed by all relevant stakeholders, including UN Member States, UN organizations, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, and the private sector. UNESCO, as the UN’s specialized agency for education, leads the annual observance in close collaboration with all stakeholders. The International Day of Education also plays a crucial role in promoting international cooperation to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4, which is to provide quality education for all.
According to UNESCO, the global literacy rate for adults over the age of 15 is 86%, but this varies greatly by region and gender. In sub-Saharan Africa, the literacy rate for adults is only 60%, and for women, it is even lower at 52%. Additionally, there are still around 258 million children and youth out of school, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the education crisis, with over 1 billion students affected by school closures. These statistics highlight the urgent need for increased investment in education and for efforts to make education more inclusive and accessible for all.
The International Day of Education serves as a reminder to prioritize education as a means to achieve peace and development for all.