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Did you know that today, January 24th, 2022, is only the fourth International Day of Education in the entire history of the United Nations as we know it?

Well in their defense, whole countries and peoples should have thought of the need sooner. I guess you can say we’re all guilty, lol.

Did you also know that “about 258 million children and youth are out of school, according to UIS data for the school year ending in 2018. The total includes 59 million children of primary school age, 62 million of lower secondary school age and 138 million of upper secondary age?”

Crazy, right? Let’s not begin to delve into the disparity found in developing and under developed countries, nor inequality at its best as seen between a girl child and a boy child in such countries…

This doesn’t include the percentages in out-of-higher-school learning and/or post college education. Phew! And that’s formal education alone, as we know it.

P.s. UIS stands for UNESCO Institute for Statistics. I wondered myself writing this piece. Lol.

Under the United Nations theme for the 2022 International Day of Education, “Changing Course, Transforming Education,” I have come to realize further that transforming education transforms lives and dare I say, the course of nations.

We must rethink education from the most basic level and from the most basic forms. Teacher support groups, training and retraining, bridging the digital divide, promoting remote learning especially in parts that have little or no access to physical facilities, global youth mental health and education, environmental education…are but a few transformative actions that can be taken to help bring quality education to all. We’re barely scratching the surface on this one.

Over the course of 6 years and more, I have been privileged to teach professionally, working with young children and adolescents cutting across all levels of education from Early Stage to Middle School and High School.

I am in fact still a teacher who works remotely now. Just as I am still a student being taught (and I don’t mean it figuratively, like ‘a student of life’), I am finally taking my dreams off the dusty shelves and pursuing my culinary dream.

Informal and formal structures of education as we call them, are more or less meant to be life’s yin-yang eternal love duo. One was never meant to overshadow the other in my humble opinion.

What this has taught me is that education is and was always meant to be wholesome.

Innovation, equality and inclusion cannot be overemphasized in the bid to achieve the SDG 4 goal — education.  “This means forging a new social contract for education, as called for by the UNESCO report on the Futures of Education, released November 2021. We have to repair past injustices and orient the digital transformation around inclusion and equity. And we need education to fully contribute to sustainable development,” Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director General, said on the occasion of International Day of Education last year.

Thus, in the wake of celebrating International Day of Education today, we must remember that the strength of education as a public endeavour is for the common good of our planet, present and future generations alike.

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