UNESCO is celebrating World Education Day on 24 January 2020, underlining the fundamental nature of education in combating inequality and securing the future of the world. However, as of today, there are still 10 years to achieve the right to education for all, as pledged by 193 heads of state in 2015. This is certainly a fine challenge, but it is unrealistic in a world where exclusion and inequality are constantly increasing.
It is just one year since the World Education DayThe United Nations General Assembly created the World Education Day on 24 January to remind the world that education is above all a pillar of human well-being and sustainable development. This is a fair return, since education was, until now, the great forgotten issue for political leaders. Relegated to the background, behind causes deemed "more useful", it had never received the attention or support it deserved. As a result, while heads of state and politicians have often praised it, they have often devoted only a few percent of their development aid to it, leaving millions of children excluded from quality education. Since 2018, the trend is changing and aid to education worldwide is increasing, but it is struggling to catch up over the years: UNESCO estimates that there is now a shortfall of almost 39 billion per year to achieve education for all.
An anniversary to celebrate the fundamental right to education
On this second anniversary of World Education Day, theUNESCO takes an even stronger line and affirms the vital importance of education, recalling that it is "the most important element in the development of a society. a fundamental human right, a public good, humanity's best renewable resource and, above all, the driving force behind achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030".adopted in 2015 by 193 heads of state, with a view to building a more just and sustainable world. Based on the founding texts such as the Declaration of Human Rights or the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNESCO stresses that education is not just an additional opportunity granted to individuals, "a chance" to acquire knowledge and skills, a freedom to learn left to the vagaries of life or to the goodwill of individuals. On the contrary, it is a right that States must commit to respecting, in the same way as the right to life, peace, health or housing... Accessible to all individuals, without any discrimination, the right to education is moreover a "multiplying" right: it does not only guarantee access to knowledge, but is like a golden thread leading to other rights, " the one who will give the people "As UNESCO writes this year, ". the means to act to preserve the planet, build shared prosperity and promote peace ".
But awareness is too slow
"If all adults completed secondary school, the world's poverty rate would be cut in half".Unesco believes. Improved employment prospects, higher incomes, empowerment of girls and women, improved maternal and child health, reduced early marriage and pregnancy... the direct benefits of access to education are many and powerful. There is ample evidence that education promotes economic growth, helps reduce inequality and can provide answers to global environmental problems, not only by increasing awareness but also by inspiring people to take more action for the environment.
However, despite all these proven benefits, awareness of the importance of education is slow to develop. The least developed countries are struggling to invest the recommended minimum of 4-6% of their GDP in education. Even today, 258 million children, adolescents and young people are still denied the right to study. And of the children who are in school, less than 1 in 2 reaches the minimum level of literacy and numeracy by the end of primary school. If current trends continue, one in six children in 2030 will be out of primary and secondary school, while four in ten young people will be excluded from secondary education. The situation will not be much better for adults: more than 750 million will not have the skills to participate in tomorrow's economy in low- and middle-income countries and 1.5 billion adults will not have any education beyond primary school.
The World will be nearly 50 years late in combating school exclusion
193 heads of state, meeting at the United Nations in 2015, gave themselves 15 years to the day to achieve 17 Sustainable Development Goals to build a world without disease, famine, inequality or poverty, where everyone would have access to 12 years of free education. However, little or nothing has changed over the last 5 years, on the contrary, exclusion and inequality seem to be on the rise and it is now very likely that the next 10 years will not be enough to achieve these goals. Indeed, almost two thirds of developing countries are behind in achieving the MDGs related to food, health, access to water and sanitation, and education. In the case of fragile states, this proportion rises to 4 out of 5 countries. On average, the world will therefore be more than 50 years late in meeting this promise, according to UNESCO.
10 years to act before it's too late
So once again, leaders and politicians, despite their rhetoric, will fail to deliver on their promises. And 2030 will probably not see the birth of a new world. Perhaps because of a lack of resources, but undoubtedly because of a lack of political will. As always, the most penalised will be the most vulnerable, those who live on the margins of society because of their beliefs, ethnicity or disability, those 51% of the world's population who have been left behind, on the sidelines, outside the major development dynamics. In the face of such injustice, Aide et Action has chosen to rethink its mission "to contribute to building a world where everyone has the opportunity to develop their full potential through access to quality education and learning".
Aide et Action is committed to the right to education of the most vulnerable
Created 39 years ago to ensure education for all, especially children in primary school, the association is now directing its actions towards the most vulnerable, the most isolated, those whose human rights, especially the right to education, are most violated. From now on, it will accompany them throughout their lives so that they acquire knowledge - from pre-school to socio-professional training, via primary and secondary education - with the sole objective of offering everyone the same opportunities for development. In addition to the projects it runs in the field, Aide et Action will accompany people on their way to citizenship so that they contribute to social change at the local, national and international levels. These new areas of intervention will take into account the challenges of climate change, security and migration. They will allow us to, in fineThe aim is to act globally, on all the obstacles to education, so that the most vulnerable and marginalised people can, through knowledge, master their own development and contribute to a more peaceful and sustainable world.