The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has said Nigeria and other countries would fail to achieve gender equality and break the cycle of poverty that leaves millions of children, young people and adults behind, without inclusive and equitable quality education.
A statement on Wednesday from the UNESCO media unit in Abuja, said on December 3, 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted by consensus a resolution proclaiming January 24 as “International Day of Education” to celebrate the role of education in peace and development.
The statement explained that the adoption of resolution 73/25 entitled “International Day of Education”, co-presented by Nigeria and 58 other member states, demonstrated the political will to support transformative actions towards inclusive education.
“Education is transforming lives and is at the heart of UNESCO’s mission of building peace, eradicating poverty and promoting sustainable development.
“UNESCO considers education as a human right for all, and that access to education goes hand in hand with quality.
“The right to education is one of the key principles underpinning the Education 2030 and Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) programme adopted by the international community in September 2015.
“UNESCO has been mandated to lead the 2030 Global Education Agenda through Sustainable Development Goal 4.
“The road map for achieving this is Education 2030’s Framework for Action (FFA). Without inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong opportunities for all, countries will fail to achieve gender equality and break the cycle of poverty that leaves millions of children, young people and adults behind.”
According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), “262 million children and young people are still out of school; 617 million children and adolescents can neither read nor perform simple calculations; less than 40 per cent of girls in sub-Saharan Africa complete secondary education and nearly four million children and young refugees are out of school.
“This is an attack on their right to education and it is unacceptable.”
This was why the Director General of UNESCO, Mrs. Audrey AZOULAY, affirmed in her message dedicated to this day that: “The world is still far from achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 4, we must give a new impetus to global cooperation and collective action.
According to Azoulay, “Our challenge is to ensure that education benefits everyone by promoting inclusiveness and equity at all levels so that no one is left behind.
“This requires attention to girls, people living with disabilities, those living or affected by HIV, migrants, internally displaced persons and refugees, supporting teachers and ensuring that gender equality is better reflected in education and training.
“There is an urgent need to strengthen national resources and international aid, because not investing in education will lead to deepening divisions, inequalities and exclusion within societies”.
UNESCO said Nigeria is in the forefront of the celebration of the first edition of International Day of Education, adding that Mr. Tijjani Muhammad Bande, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations, presented the resolution to the General Assembly, noting that the proclamation of 24 January “International Day of Education “ was an important step towards promoting education as a fundamental aspect of sustainable development.
He emphasised that education is not only a human right, but also key to sustainable development.