Transforming Education: an Imperative for the Future We Want

24 January 2022: Celebrating the power of education to uplift individuals and transform societies, the global community honored teachers and champions for education.
Amidst the 3rd year of the global pandemic, the fourth International Day of Education marked an increased focus on continuing learning and sent out a message of hope. Co-organized by UNESCO and UN Group of Friends for Education and Lifelong Learning under the theme “Changing Course, Transforming Education”, the celebration brought together diverse perspectives on the crucial triggers of transformations for a more equitable and inclusive education system.
In the opening segment moderated by Ms Stefania Giannini, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education, leaders and education advocates such as UN Secretary General, UNESCO Director General, President of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, Chair of the Global Partnership for Education, and the Permanent Representative of Argentina to the UN championed education as key driver for progress across all SDGs , as well as peace and human rights.
UN leaders called on international communities to unite around education as a public good. Mr Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General will convene the Summit on Transforming Education in September  2022 to identify innovative approach for the transformation of the national education systems.

Joining his call, Ms Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General underscored the need to "rethink education”, Ms Audrey Azoulay having in mind the findings of UNESCO’s Futures of Education report. Echoing the call on reimagining education, H.E. Mr. Abdulla Shahid, President of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, who stressed the need to embrace changes that protect and promote the rights of everyone to learn. “We need an educational system that could leverage humanity’s collective intelligence, a system that advances rather than subverts our aspirations for inclusive education based on the principles of justice, equity and respect for human rights,” he concluded.

Pointing out the learning challenges exacerbated by the pandemic, in particular social inequalities and widening digital gap, H.E. María del Carmen Squeff, representing UN Group of Friends for Education and Lifelong Learning, expressed the Group’s readiness to rally a renewed commitment to education at the forefront of international efforts to advance inclusion, empowerment, and sustainable development. Highlighting that the High-Level Political Forum will hold an in-depth review of SDG4 on quality education, she stressed the need to step up our collaboration and solidarity in placing education and lifelong learning at the centre of the recovery and the transformation towards more inclusive, safe and sustainable societies.

Mobilizing domestic and international finance for transforming education systems in low-income countries has been a major preoccupation for the Global Partnership for Education. Mr Jakaya Kikwete, Chair of the GPE urged governments imminently and decisively to protect the education gains in keeping in school millions of children in risk. “We must invest in education for the future of our planet; and the time to invest is now”, he said.

During the interactive panel “Drivers of Change’, representatives of youth, teachers and education stakeholders from private and civil society sector stressed the need for transforming education in tackling today’s and future’s most pressing challenges. Concluding the event, H.E. Mr Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations, reiterated the recognition of education as a human right and global public good. He stressed that guaranteeing adequate financial resources, ensuring equal access to technology, and quality training of teachers are critical. 

H.E. Mr Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, in his capacity as the President of the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly spearheaded the proclamation of the International Day in an effort to mobilize the international community to solidify solidarity and deliver on the promises to children and youth.