Int’l Day of Education: UNESCO dedicates fifth edition to Afghan girls, women

THE United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has dedicated the fifth edition of the International Day of Education to girls and women in Afghanistan denied their right to learn, study and teach.

The Director-General of UNESCO, Ms Audrey Azoulay, made this known in her message on the occasion of the 2023 edition of the Day, marked every March 24.

The theme for this year’s edition is,  “to invest in people, prioritise education”

Azoulay calls for maintaining strong political mobilisation around education and charts the way forward to translate commitments and global initiatives into action.

According to the DG, education must be prioritised to accelerate progress towards all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) against the backdrop of a global recession, growing inequalities and the climate crisis.

“UNESCO has been tirelessly calling for the immediate restoration of the right to education for all girls and young women in Afghanistan.

“We condemn this serious attack on human dignity and on the fundamental right to education.”

She said UNESCO was in close liaison with the country’s communities and continued to work together to secure the continuity of education, whether by means of literacy courses or by mobilising the power of radio.

The Director General added that UNESCO also remained the primary source for the monitoring of education data in Afghanistan, particularly data related to higher education.

“We will continue to mobilise the international community in order to uphold Afghan girls’ and women’s right to education.

“We must not forget, however, that throughout the world, even for those fortunate enough to be in school, grave concerns persist.

“For example, in low and middle-income countries, seven out of ten children are still unable to read and understand a simple text at the age of 10 years.

“This is why, in recent months, UNESCO has been working to strengthen international mobilisation to ensure the quality of education,”she said.

Azoulay noted that the world needed to adapt education to the challenges of present times, particularly by acting on the conclusions stemming from the Futures of Education initiative.

This initiative, she said, calls for a new social contract through and for education.

“Everyone has the right to education but despite the importance of this statement, the fundamental right to education is still far from being a reality for all the girls and boys in the world.

“According to our data, 244 million of them are still out of school this year.

“On this day, UNESCO is urging one and all to defend – everywhere and always – universal and fundamental right which is the best lever for ensuring development education. (NAN)