On December 3rd 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to observe 24th January (starting from 2019) as the International day of Education, to celebrate the role of education in development. The decision was taken during Global Education Meet held at Brussels in Belgium from 3rd to 5th December 2018. The International Day of education resolution was ignited by the Nigeria’s permanent mission in the United Nations and co-sponsored by Ireland, Singapore and Qatar, in partnership with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UN Children’s Fund, UN Women and Collegiate Congress and additional co-sponsors. The resolution demonstrated the world’s political will towards providing quality education to all and achieving sustainable development by 2030. It only reiterates the importance of education in development and its essentiality for sustainable development goals.
WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OF CELEBRATING “INTERNATIONAL DAY OF EDUCATION”?
International Day Of Education is a manifestation of world’s political power’s will to improve the standards of education and their resolution towards eradicating illiteracy. It also reiterates the importance of education for the world’s social and economical development. The observance is expected to improve the quality of education and protects the rights of the student community. The nations together, will reach out to the masses stressing on the importance of education and also the role that it plays in achieving the goal of sustainable development by 2030.
Education plays very important role in eradication of poverty, illiteracy and providing livelihood through employment, developing skills, improving health and sanitation, economical and social development, high living standards, better hygiene and reduced crime rates. Education is a one stop remedy for many social issues. It is also the most important factor leading to the UN’s sustainable development goals by 2030.
The observance also stresses the fact that the education is not only a fundamental right but also a necessity to achieve sustainable development; not to mention the role that education plays in poverty eradication, generating employment and leading to social and economical development.
The resolution recognised “that education plays a key role in building sustainable and resilient societies and contributes to the achievement of all of the other Sustainable Development Goals, increases the productivity of individuals and strengthens the potential for economic growth, develops the skills needed for decent work, develops the professional skills needed for sustainable development, including in the fields of water and sanitation, green energy and the conservation of natural resources”.
HOW WILL “INTERNATIONAL DAY OF EDUCATION” BE CELEBRATED?
The resolution calls upon the countries, the UN member states, social activists, civil societies, education institutes, private sectors, volunteers and professionals to observe the International Day of Education in their respective capacities.
Promoting education, raising the standards of education and ensuring education for all are some of the vital points to be acted upon. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) will play a vital role, being the United Nation’s education body. The observance of International Day of Education stresses to the nations, the need to adapt to modernized academic programs; as the world has globalized and become interdependent.
Events will be organized to acknowledge the importance of education at every level – primary, secondary and tertiary level also the distance education as well as vocational training programs; providing opportunities to the illiterate as well as the educated, beyond the limitations of age. Such programs will stress on improving employability and the quality of life, through education. The day not only stresses on academic education, but also on developing skills; raising individual productivity and employability.
Efforts will be made towards developing co-operation between the member states on the fields of education and sustainable development through education. The costs of all the activities related to the observance are to be met voluntarily.
WHAT SHOULD NIGERIA CELEBRATE THIS DAY”?
Firstly, I believe that since it’s a resolution coming from our end, we should do well to keep up everything that comes with it. You can’t bring up an idea and then not run with it, right? Also, according to WENR, Nigeria is the number one country of origin for international students from Africa: WE sends the most students overseas of any country on the African continent, and outbound mobility numbers are growing at a rapid pace. According to data from the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS), the number of Nigerian students abroad increased by 164 percent in the decade between 2005 and 2015 alone– from 26,997 to 71,351 – I think this calls for a celebration or not – I see it in two ways (i) It shows the dedication and commitment of our young people towards acquiring the best knowledge there is, (ii) it’s a wake up call for us to improve our educational system as the funds diverted overseas can be invested here instead in education when the right structures are in place. There’s a high demand and influx of population in the educational sector with scarce resources to maintain this figures. Next, the alarming rise in the figures emerging from out-of-school children is frightening. According to reports from UNICEF Nigeria “10.5 million of the country’s children aged 5-14 years are not in school. Only 61 percent of 6-11 year-olds regularly attend primary school and only 35.6 percent of children aged 36-59 months receive early childhood education. In the north of the country, the picture is even bleaker, with a net attendance rate of 53 percent, female primary net attendance rates for states in the north-east and north-west have of 47.7 percent and 47.3 percent, respectively, meaning that more than half of the girls are not in school. The education deprivation in northern Nigeria is driven by various factors, including economic barriers and socio-cultural norms and practices that discourage attendance in formal education, especially for girls”.
As a nation it is high time we improve on social development factors like Education. These cultural mis-beliefs that limit us from achieving a desired result should be eradicated. There are misconceptions that education is not noble cause , this is so wrong. Most of the things we know and ideas that have been invented come from acquiring a certain level of education.
How are you celebrating International Day of Education? Now, don’t tell me you can’t do anything. As little as volunteering with those that are engaging in an event can go a long way.