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International Day of Education

Updated: Jan 25, 2023


As a teacher, I used to discuss children's rights with my students, especially around World Children’s Day in November. My students often complained that going to school is not a right but an obligation. Instead, they suggested that they should have the right to play whenever they want and whatever they want. Going to school in Finland is so commonplace that Finnish children often do not realise that it really is a right. Around the world 244 million children and youth are out of school (Unesco, n.d.). The coronavirus pandemic was an important reminder of the significance of in-class education. In many countries children had to stay at home. During that time, we had to reinvent in-class teaching so that we were able to provide quality education also remotely.

Education is one of the core structures in any society. An equal and an inclusive education system is the result of conscious and persistent efforts. When designing a new curriculum, education policy, or laws and regulations, experts from different fields should be involved: policy makers, academics, educators. In addition, changes to education system require direct monetary investments and patience because structural changes do not happen over an election cycle but may take decades.

“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 (United Nations, n.d.)”. Accessibility of education is a goal around the world. Unesco states that education should be prioritized to accelerate progress towards all the sustainable development goals against the backdrop of a global recession, growing inequalities and the climate crisis. Therefore, we are forced to think: how can we provide inclusive and equitable quality education that is not dependent on the time and place? We can draw lessons from the way we adapted during the pandemic. One solution can be found from developing online education for students. We also have to consider educators, who need communities and platforms to exchange ideas and create professional development that provides them with tools to adapt to new situations. Concrete innovations like CCE Finland’s SISU Box - preschool in a box are solutions that help.

The International Day of Education will be celebrated on January 24 2023 under the theme “to invest in people, prioritize education”. The United Nations has declared education “a human right, a public good and a public responsibility”. This declaration highlights well that education belongs to everyone: it is a human right and responsibility at the same time. I have explained to my students that education is like health - when you are healthy, you don’t even think about it. But when you lose your health and are sick, you understand its value and want to do what it takes to be healthy again.

Nelli Louhivuori,

CCE Finland

References:

Unesco. n.d. International Day of Education. https://www.unesco.org/en/days/education

United Nations. n.d. International Day of Education. https://www.un.org/en/observances/education-day


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