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International Day of Education
International Days as declared by the United Nations General Assembly are an opportunity to renew both personal and institutional commitments towards specific causes. They also provide an opportunity to share insights on how to solve challenges we may face. The International of Education is celebrated each year on January 24 with a particular emphasis on the role played by education for peace and development.
In observance of the Day, we provide on this page resources related to the Day, building on materials shared by international organizations such as UNESCO, the Global Partnership for Education, or the World Bank.
Note: Photo by Tom Wang used by UNESCO for the 2021 International Day of Education.
The International Day of Education was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly through a 2018 resolution. The resolution invites Member States and various organizations including faith-based organization to observe the Day. We provide here resources related to the observance of the Day for 2021 (links to UNESCO webpages for previous observances are also provided). Other related United Nations international days observed each year include: International Literacy Day on September 8; World Teachers Day on October 5; International Day of Women and Girls in Science on February 11; World Youth Skills Day on July 15; International Mother Language Day on February 21; International Day of Sign Languages on September 23; World Braille Day on January 4.
Key link for the 2021 International Day of Education
Events/Resources from UNESCO (with GPE)
Key links for the 2021 International Day of Education
The 2021 International Day of Education took place in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that led to school closures affecting 1.6 billion students. Together with the Global Partnership for Education and other organizations, UNESCO marked the day with a program of speakers as follows (the recording - total of 3h - can be accessed here):
Opening: Prioritize education, work together and finance our future with Audrey Azoulay (UNESCO Director-General), António Guterres (UN Secretary General), H.E. Volkan Bozkir (President of 75th UN General Assembly), H.E. Odd-Inge Kvalheim (Deputy Permanent Representative of Norway to the UN on behalf of UN Group of Friends for Education and Lifelong Learning) and Stefania Giannini (Moderator, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education).
Panel 1: Celebrating “Learning Heroes” with Patience Mkandawaire (Campaign for Female Education), Christopher Oule (Blind activist from Burkina Faso), Marla Yolibet Vasquez (Teacher from Honduras), Dhurata Myrtollari (Teacher from Albania), Jamie Frost (Varkey Foundation Covid-19 hero award), Ece Akcay (Ministry of National Education of Turkey), Allan Goodman (President, Institute of International Education), and Mohamed Sidibay (Moderator, Education advocate from Sierra Leone).
Panel 2: Promising innovations to transform education with H.E. Maria Victoria Angulo Gonzalez (Minister of Education of Colombia), Ranjitsinh Disale (Global Teacher Prize winner), Oleg Figlin (Vice President for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Blackboard), Otto Orondaam (Founder of Slum2School), Doreen Bogdan-Martin (Director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau, ITU), and Jo Bourne (Moderator, Chief Technical Officer, Global Partnership for Education).
Panel 3: Financing the education transformation with Jutta Urpilainen (EU Commissioner for Partnerships), Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda (African Union’s Goodwill Ambassador on Ending Child Marriage and Chief Executive of Rozaria Memorial Trust), Alice Albright (CEO, Global Partnership for Education), Manos Antoninis (Director of the Global Education Monitoring Report), Refaat Sabbah (President, Global Campaign for Education), Yasmine Sherif (Director, Education Cannot Wait), and Jaime Saavedra (Director of Global Education, World Bank)
Launch of the Global Campaign’s for Education 1 billion Voices (video)
Closing with H.E. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande (Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations)
Finale with the Laureates of the “Conversation with The Little Prince” contest
Events/Resources from the World Bank
In honor of the International Day, the World Bank published an immersive story with references to recent publications entitled Urgent, Effective Action Required to Quell the Impact of COVID-19 on Education Worldwide. The World Bank also published several blogs:
International Day of Education 2021: Harnessing the promise of innovation in education by Managing Director Mari Pangestu.
The Urgency and Opportunity to Return to Learning by Jaime Saavedra, Global Director of the Education Global Practice.
In addition, a World Bank Live Event entitled Re-Imagining Post-Pandemic Education was held with David Sengeh, Minister of Education of Sierra Leone. Finally, also available is an animated slideshow entitled COVID-19 has brought the Future of Learning to Now.
UNESCO Sites for Previous Years
Links to UNESCO resources for the 2019 and 2020 International Days are provide below:
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