Tuesday, Jan 26, 2021 08:15 [IST]

Last Update: Tuesday, Jan 26, 2021 02:42 [IST]

Recover and revitalize education for the COVID-19 generation

RANJAN K BARUAH

The recent pandemic has taught us many things in real life. It was not expected but we had to face it. The pandemic has affected the entire world be it developed or developing nations. We are aware that the right to education is enshrined in article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The declaration calls for free and compulsory elementary education. The Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted in 1989, goes further to stipulate that countries shall make higher education accessible to all. It is a fundamental right in India.
Education is key to sustainable development and when the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015 was adopted, the international community recognized that education is essential for the success of all 17 of its goals. Sustainable Development Goal 4, in particular, aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” by 2030.
It offers children a ladder out of poverty and a path to a promising future. But about 265 million children and adolescents around the world do not have the opportunity to enter or complete 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. 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.
On 3 December 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted with consensus a resolution proclaiming 24 January as International Day of Education, in celebration of the role of education for peace and development. The adoption of the resolution 73/25 “International Day of Education”, co-authored by Nigeria and 58 other Member States, demonstrated the unwavering political will to support transformative actions for inclusive, equitable and quality education for all.
With a view to enhance international cooperation in supporting the efforts towards the realization of Sustainable Development Goal 4, the resolution called on all stakeholders including Member States, organizations of the UN system, and civil society, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, the private sector, individuals and other relevant stakeholders to observe the International Day of Education.
UNESCO, as the specialized United Nations agency for education, facilitates the annual observance of the Day in close collaboration with main education actors. The International Education Day occurs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that led to a global learning disruption of unprecedented scale and severity. The closure of schools, universities and other learning institutions, as well as the interruption of many literacy and lifelong learning programmes, has affected the lives of 1.6 billion students in over 190 countries. As a new year begins, now is the time to step up collaboration and international solidarity to place education and lifelong learning at the centre of the recovery and the transformation towards more inclusive, safe and sustainable societies.
António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General on his message on the occasion has said that “when education is interrupted, it affects everyone – especially students, teachers and families.” “We must also step up our efforts to reimagine education – training teachers, bridging the digital divide and rethinking curricula to equip learners with the skills and knowledge to flourish in our rapidly changing world” , he added .
There is no alternative to education when it comes to sustainable social transformation. We must ensure that quality education is received by all in all parts of the world. Apart from the government, there are many other agencies working to make education for all. Together we can make a difference and let us all contribute to quality education.
(With direct inputs from UN publication and feedback can be sent to bkranjan@gmail.com)


Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi