International Day of Education 2019
The first-ever International Day of Education is celebrated on 24 January, with a focus on the role of education for peace and development
Photo: Emmanuel Museruka
On 3 December 2018, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 24 January as the International Day of Education, reiterating the global commitment to ensure inclusive, equitable and quality education for all.
Education is not a privilege but a fundamental human right. It is indispensable in addressing global challenges of peace, prosperity, social cohesion and human development. Without 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. Furthermore, education fosters peace.
Today, 262 million children and youth still do not attend school; 617 million children and adolescents do not achieve minimum proficiency levels in reading and math; less than 40% of girls in sub-Saharan Africa complete lower secondary school and four million children and youth refugees are out of school.
EU and its Member States are committed to ensure everyone has the knowledge, skills, capabilities and rights they need to enjoy a life in dignity, to be fully engaged in society as responsible and productive adults, and to contribute to the social, economic and environmental well-being of their communities.
As the world's biggest donor, the EU and its Member States collectively play a critical role in achieving the SDG 4 Education targets. In its 2014-2020 programming, the EU is supporting education in approximately 100 countries through various funding instruments and support to global education partnerships.
Thanks to the contribution of EU citizens, today more children, especially girls, can attend school. EU-funded interventions completed between 2013-2017 in partner countries contributed the enrolment of 47 763 000 children in primary education and 21 087 000 children in secondary education. An increasing number of girls complete schooling in the 23 countries where EU budget support targets education. With a ratio of 97 girls for 100 boys on average, gender parity in those countries has not materialised yet, but it is within reach.
The EU is also a global leader in supporting education in emergencies through its humanitarian and development aid programmes. A large proportion of EU bilateral funding (60%) to education under the programming period 2014 - 2020 is allocated to fragile or conflict affected countries.
The EU has initiated BRiCE - Building Resilience in Crises through Education (EUR 20 million) which aims to improve access to safe and quality basic education for children in fragile and crisis-affected environments, with a particular focus on evidence building on what works well in crisis environments.
Click to read the joint statement by Commissioners Neven Mimica, Christos Stylianides, Tibor Navracsics, and Marianne Thyssen celebrating the International Day of Education.