Audrey Azoulay made the remarks on The International Day of Education, established by UNESCO in an effort to celebrate the efforts of innovative educators and students across the globe, as well as to advocate for education as a human right.
In her statement on 4th annual International Day of Education, Azoulay, highlighted the grave disparities in educational systems worldwide that were exacerbated during the pandemic.
“The international community cannot afford to be agnostic about its provision, quality, and relevance”
As such, this year’s theme, Changing Course, Transforming Education, places a significant emphasis on reflection, rethinking lessons learned during the pandemic, and reframing educational systems in ways that repair systemic inequities.
The missive for 2022 also underscores the importance of sustainability and technology, with calls for increased teacher training around these initiatives.
United Nations secretary-general António Guterres, in his message on UN Web TV, also emphasised the economic, health, and educational disparities intensified by the pandemic and implored world leaders, policy makers, and the public to place education at the forefront of post-pandemic reforms.
Guterres asserted that the current system no longer corresponds with what today’s learners and the planet will need.
“The international community cannot afford to be agnostic about its provision, quality, and relevance,” Guterres cautioned.
Barriers to equity in education, along with potential solutions, were addressed in the recent report entitled “Reimagining our futures together: A new social contract for education” published by UNESCO’s International Commission on the Futures of Education. To address these issues further, Guterres will be convening The Summit on Transforming Education later in 2022.
Across the world, organisations are celebrating International Day of Education with a focus on amplifying the voice of educators and students.
In Dubai, Expo 2020 Dubai, in partnership with UNESCO, offered a robust Programme for People and Planet, during which students shared their perspectives and teachers offered masterclasses that featured innovative instructional practices.
In New York, UNESCO and the Group of Friends for Education and Lifelong Learning hosted a conversation between students, educators, and policy makers to discuss how large-scale systemic transformation in education can occur in order to change mindsets, support educators, protect the planet, and harness the power of collective advocacy.
Visa and Global Mobility consultant at Northeastern University in Boston, Caroline Hughes Schaefer shared her reflections with The PIE News on what International Education Day means as an international educator, as well as on UNESCO’s direction for this decade.
“One must have an open mind in order to truly understand ‘other’ and ‘otherness’ and the injustices experienced within the historical cultural context. Today we celebrate so that we can achieve gender equality and break the cycle of poverty for generations of students of all ages, globally.”
Likewise, UNESCO envisions that through collaboration and economic cooperation on a global scale, education will be perceived as an essential human right, a global public good, and a universal responsibility.