Published: 25th January 2021
UN Secretary General Guterres calls for efforts to promote education for all
Gutteres urged everyone to step up efforts to re-imagine education, training teachers, bridging the digital divide and rethinking curricula
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for efforts to promote education for all. In a video message to mark the International Day of Education on Sunday, Guterres paid tribute to the resilience of students, teachers and families in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, which, at its peak, forced almost every school, institute and university to close its doors.
Although this disruption has led to learning innovations, it has also dashed hopes of a brighter future among vulnerable populations, the UN chief said. "All of us pay the price. After all, education is the foundation for expanding opportunities, transforming economies, fighting intolerance, protecting our planet and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals."
As the world continues to battle the pandemic, education, as a fundamental right and a global public good, must be protected to avert a generational catastrophe, he said. Even before the pandemic, some 258 million children and adolescents were out of school, the majority of them girls, according to the Secretary-General.
More than half of 10-year-olds in low- and middle-income countries were not learning to read a simple text, he noted. "In 2021, we must seize all opportunities to turn this situation around. We must ensure the full replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education fund, and strengthen global education cooperation. "We must also step up our efforts to re-imagine 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. Let us commit to promote education for all today and every day," the UN chief added.