International Day of Education: Investing in the Girls and Women of Afghanistan

Jan 24, 2023 | Main Blog | 0 comments

Education is the key to unlocking the world. It is the passport to freedom.” — Oprah Winfrey

There are, arguably, few things as powerful and momentous as education when it comes to changing the lives and histories of both individuals and communities. It has proven to be, in many ways, the golden key to prosperity, growth and progress. Despite being acknowledged as a human right, about 244 million children and adolescents around the world are out of school and 617 million cannot read and do basic math, according to the United Nations. Adding to this, girls worldwide face further disadvantages compared to boys when it comes to accessing schooling which, as stated by the World Bank, “goes beyond getting girls into school” and also involves “ensuring that girls feel safe in school, have the opportunity to complete all levels of education, acquire the knowledge and skills to compete in the labor market, make decisions about their own lives and more.” Ensuring all girls and boys across the world have access to getting a safe, full, quality education is pivotal if we are to achieve and sustain progress as a society.

To that end, recognizing that “education plays a key role in building sustainable and resilient societies and contributes to the achievement of all other Sustainable Development Goals,” the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed January 24th as International Day of Education. Every year since 2019, come January 24th, individuals and institutions across the world pause to acknowledge the importance of education, and celebrate its pivotal role in fostering peace and promoting development.

During last year’s celebration, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres highlighted that “the time has come to reignite our collective commitment to education.” Today, as we observe the day for the fifth consecutive year, let us stop and reflect on the importance of ensuring access to education for all. Let us see it as a right, not a privilege. Let us appreciate the educators and learners of the world, and all those striving to protect and champion the right to education across the globe. Let us acknowledge that the success of one is the success of all. Let us be vocal champions of accessible schooling and loud advocates for learning.

Using education to nurture creativity, knowledge and curiosity can help us tap into each individual’s potential and therefore foster our collective prosperity, advancement and growth. Education is, indeed, the key to unlocking the world, and making it available to all is not only critically important, but undeniably urgent.

This fifth year of International Day of Education is “dedicated to all the girls and women in Afghanistan, who have been denied their right to learn, study and teach.” Learn more about the day here and here.

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Maria Belen Iturralde

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