January 24 is International Day of Education. The theme this year is "Changing Course, Transforming Education," According to UNESCO. You may not have heard of the International Day of Education before, since this is a new holiday, celebrating it's fourth anniversary this year. Education is an important right that allows all children to have a bright future. This helps to equalize opportunity for everyone across the world.
"As it was detailed in UNESCO’s recent global Futures of Education report, transforming the future requires an urgent rebalancing or our relationships with each other, with nature as well as with technology that permeates our lives, bearing breakthrough opportunities while raising serious concerns for equity, inclusion and democratic participation.
This year’s International Day of Education will be a platform to showcase the most important transformations that have to be nurtured to realize everyone’s fundamental right to education and build a more sustainable, inclusive and peaceful futures. It will generate debate around how to strengthen education as a public endeavor and common good, how to steer the digital transformation, support teachers, safeguard the planet and unlock the potential in every person to contribute to collective well-being and our shared home."
In the United States, Education has long been seen as a universal right, and that is why all US students have the right to a free public education. However, this is not the case worldwide, and that is in part why the United Nations has created the International Day of Education. This day is to help recognize that education is an important right for everyone, worldwide.
According to the Global Foundation for the Performing Arts,
"Education is a human right, a public good and a public responsibility.
The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 24 January as International Day of Education, in celebration of the role of education for peace and development.
Without inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong opportunities for all, countries will not succeed in achieving gender equality and breaking the cycle of poverty that is leaving millions of children, youth and adults behind.
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. Their right to education is being violated and it is unacceptable."
The Importance of Education.
As moms, we are perhaps more aware than most people of the importance of education. Horace Mann (1848, as cited in Education and Social Inequity, n.d.) said that, “Education, then, beyond all other divides of human origin, is a great equalizer of conditions of men—the balance wheel of the social machinery.”
Education on an individual scale allows people to better their social and financial situation, and oftentimes to pull themselves up out of poverty.
On a societal level, education has allowed opportunities for innovations in virtually every field. When people learn more, it enhances our opportunities to create new technologies, travel into space, make advances in medicine to cure disease, and so much more. It all starts with education.
By valuing education for our own children, and all other children, we are at once enriching their lives, and improving society.
Inequity in Education.
It is still a sad fact that, in the 21st century, not everyone has access to a quality free, public education. In some countries girls and minorities are not allowed an education at all.
Here in the US, your education may vary because of your zip code, and the subsequent wealth gap. Or, you may not have access to higher education if you can't afford it.
Some countries in Europe are leading the world in this regard, offering not only free education for children, but free university as well. That way, everyone in their society can have the best education possible, and be prepared for a good career, regardless of their parent's income level.
Striving to reduce this type of educational inequities in education is the goal of the International Day of Education.
Ideas for Celebrating.
In honor of the International Day of Education, you can talk to your kids about the importance plays in their lives, and have them do fun educational activities.
Here are some ideas:
Have children make a thank you card or gift for their favorite teacher.
Go to the library or book store to pick out new books.
Play games, and talk about how education has made a difference in learning the game play. For example, learning math helps kids use dice, etc.
Have kids think about how learning makes a difference in their lives.
Ask kids what their favorite thing is to learn.
Help kids find pen palls in another part of the world to learn about education there.
Go to a museum to learn something new.
You can also think about plenty of your own ideas, to show your children to appreciate the education that they receive every day, and understand the benefits of having a good education.
The International Day of Education is a new holiday that promotes equality in education across the globe. Having your children celebrate is a unique way to show them the value of their own education, and find gratitude for all that they can achieve because of education.
Let me know what you think in the comments. Are you going to celebrate the International Day of Education with your kids? What do you think is a fun way to celebrate?
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