In a statement released today, the International Day of Education, Education International’s General Secretary David Edwards calls for urgent and decisive action to address all the inequities COVID-19 revealed and exacerbated and to ensure the right to free quality public education for all.
The third edition of the International Day of Education (January 24) comes at a time when education is facing its biggest crisis in modern history. In 2020, over 1.6 billion students were affected by the global school closures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift to remote education. Access has not been equal, largely due to a great digital divide. At least 463 million students (over 30% of students globally) were cut off from education for months, with no means to access remote schooling. The most vulnerable were most affected.
The aim of this year’s International Day of Education is to mobilise global support in order to ‘Recover and Revitalise Education for the COVID-19 Generation’. Speaking on behalf of 32 million teachers and education support personnel around the world, David Edwards stressed that the world has a collective responsibility to prevent the pandemic from defining the lives of hundreds of millions of children.
Education International’s General Secretary outlined the road to recovery highlighting critical issues such as the need to prioritise educators for the COVID-19 vaccines in order to reopen schools safely; the imperative of conducting equity audits and taking the necessary measures so that no one is left behind; including the teaching profession in the governance of education technology and fighting the commercialisation of education globally.
Crucially, all recovery efforts will require significant domestic funding, including debt relief, progressive taxation and increased international aid. Without this serious commitment to education, no society can hope to recover from the crisis.
Watch David Edward’s statement below.