Recover and Revitalise Education for the COVID-19 Generation
Without quality education and lifelong learning for all, we will not succeed in addressing the challenges of our world. This requires investment, coordination, and multilateralism; rethinking what and how we learn, with those who are on the frontlines and will be the actors and citizens of tomorrow: teachers and young people.Audrey Azoulay
Education is a fundamental right and plays a crucial role in everyone’s life. Development of a person hinges on education. A person who is not educated goes through a lot of struggles in life. It is also said that education is a human right, a public good, and a shared responsibility. There are still many struggles for the children out there to get primary education. It is estimated that about 250 million children still do not attend school. More than 600 million children and adolescents cannot read and do basic math. Conflicts (both political and armed) hinder development and pushes many into poverty. One of the consequences of prolonged conflicts is affecting the education of young people. It is reported that less than 40% of girls in sub-Saharan Africa complete lower secondary school. Some four million children and youth refugees are out of school. 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.
The right to education is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which calls for free and compulsory elementary education. It is further stipulated that countries shall make higher education accessible to all. In 2018, the UN adopted a resolution proclaiming 24 January as International Day of Education. It is a celebration of the role of education for peace and development. It also demonstrates the support for transformative actions for inclusive, equitable, and quality education for all. Education plays a critical role in peace and development and celebrating International Day of Education, highlights the role of quality and appropriate education. The celebrations also focus on learning heroes, innovations, and financing. The international community recognised that education is essential for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Goal 4 aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” by 2030.
Many very heartening developments have emerged relating to imparting education during COVID pandemic times. Many countries have adopted innovative teaching methods to mitigate the pandemic’s immediate impact. In Nigeria, Interactive lessons are broadcast to students by radio. At the same time, parents, who play an essential supportive role in this new approach to education, receive lessons plan through WhatsApp. Learning Channels were set up by working with the national broadcaster in Turkey. Employing digital media effectively, Uruguay commissioned a program for at-home learning. The efforts of both central and state governments in India to launch dedicated educational broadcasts are helping many get connected to the teachers.
COVID pandemic resulted in the closure of educational institutes and interruption of many ‘literacy/lifelong learning programmes”. Appropriately the theme for this year’s International Education Day is “Recover and Revitalise Education for the COVID-19 Generation.” With the dawn of new year and hope of vaccine reaching many, it is the time to enhance collaboration in imparting education and lifelong learning. UN says that this would be the centre of the recovery and the transformation towards more inclusive, safe, and sustainable societies.
We want that education by which character is formed, the strength of mind is increased, the intellect is expanded, and by which one can stand on one’s own feet.Swami Vivekananda
Now is the time to power education by stepping up collaboration and international solidarity to place imparting education at the centre of the recovery. When the world is still struggling to reach out to provide opportunities for getting educated, there is a long journey in providing that education what Swami Vivekananda emphasised.