Today is the second edition of International Day of Education, renewing its commitment to the realisation of the 2030 education agenda / SDG4. The European Students’ Union (ESU) joins this day to honour education and its centrality to human well-being and sustainable development.
We believe education is vital in shaping both present and future development (personal, social, political, economic and environmental). Students, therefore, hold a powerful role, as consumers and producers of knowledge and skill, to steer innovative, inclusive and sustainable development such in a way to address present challenges, including the fight against the climate emergency, corruption, armed conflict, poverty and discrimination.
According to the data provided by UNESCO, today, 258 million children and youth still do not attend school; 617 million children and adolescents cannot read and do basic math; less than 40% of girls in sub-Saharan Africa complete lower secondary school and some four million children and youth refugees are out of school. It is unacceptable that the right to education continues to be violated on a daily basis.
This year’s theme around Learning for people, planet, prosperity and peace highlights the integrated nature of education, its humanistic aims, as well as its centrality to our collective development ambitions.
ESU joins this initiative to empower people, preserve the planet, build shared prosperity and foster peace. Without inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong opportunities for everyone, countries will not succeed in achieving gender equality and breaking the cycle of poverty that is leaving millions of children, youth and adults behind.
The ability and hope for people to build a better future is possible if quality education is safe and free — but this movement needs more students to mobilise and become activists, be it within their local communities or within their representative structures on campus, so as to understand both society’s and academia’s structural inequalities that continue marginalizing groups of people from exercising their fundamental human right to getting an education.
UNESCO’s recently launched Futures of Education initiative has opened its global consultation, asking you to join the debate and share how you think learning should be reshaped for the future of humanity and the planet.