24 January 2021: 3rd International Day of Education
Chennai, 21st January 2021 – The 3rd International Day of Education will be earmarked by worrying figures relating to education around the world. In a context of a global pandemic and while 2021 is still uncertain, Aide et Action, an international association for development through education, calls on states, including France, to urgently take action, particularly financially, in favour of education.
Before the pandemic, 258 million children were already out of school and, even after several years spent at school, 1 in 6 children did not acquire basic knowledge. The major learning crisis – due to a lack of materials, dire learning conditions or even a lack of teacher training – was therefore already prevalent even before COVID-19 became apparent.
Accumulation of crises. The sudden and multi-month closures of schools and universities during lockdowns have left millions of children and young people out of school and hampered basic learning of millions of school children. Due to lack of access to digital tools, more than 465 million students have been deprived of learning and, due to the rise in poverty following the pandemic, more than 24 million children are unlikely to return to school.
What impact on the world after COVID-19? “These millions of excluded young people will nevertheless have tomorrow’s world to (re) build. Urgent and massive measures and investments are more than ever crucial to implement, as quickly as possible, an efficient, inclusive education system which is capable of welcoming all and ensuring them the minimum of 12 years of free and high-quality education. This is essential for their future and, consequently, for that of the World After”, warns Charles-Emmanuel BALLANGER, International Director General of Aide et Action.
Political mobilization. However, the announcements – and the same promises – on this subject by many political world leaders have, to this day, still not been acted upon. In France, the bill on solidarity and development, presented to the Council of Ministers last December, does not seem to take into account the seriousness of the consequences of COVID-19. Thus, it does not mention new support for developing countries and does not give any visibility on France’s future commitments in terms of Education. The many events planned for 2021 (Global Partnership for Education and Education Cannot Wait refinancing conferences, Generation Equality Forum and G7 summit) will be an opportunity for these same leaders to finally keep their word and to make education a priority, especially a financial one.
Official Development Aid. By setting up innovative educational projects – as, for example, in Cambodia, where Aide et Action has supported teachers so that they can record lessons that can be broadcast on the Internet, on television or even on the radio – Aide et Action highlights implementing innovative and effective educational practices and responses to meet the needs generated by the global COVID-19 crisis. But “despite their determination and their will to act, associations and organizations specializing in education will not succeed alone. We need, more than ever, political and public powers to engage with us too “, insists Charles-Emmanuel BALLANGER. “We therefore call on France to review its budgetary programming to finally achieve, and as quickly as possible, Official Development Aid to the equivalent of 0.7% of national wealth and to allocate half of it to essential sectors, including that of Education.”
About Aide et Action
Founded in 1981, Aide et Action, an international association for development through education, ensures access to quality education for the most vulnerable and marginalized populations, in particular children, girls, and women, so that each and every one can take their development in their own hands and contribute to a more peaceful and sustainable world. Because access to quality education makes it possible to fight poverty and disease, limit climate change and build peace in a sustainable world, we promote lifelong learning. Therefore, we pay special attention to early childhood education and protection, access and quality of education at both primary and secondary levels, as well as vocational training and education, and social integration. By basing our intervention on the values of dignity, inclusion, and integrity, as well as on the principles of action of transparency, accountability, and solidarity, and thanks to the support of our 51,000 donors, we are currently carrying out 83 projects in Africa, Asia, Europe – and especially in France – for more than 1.9 million children, youngsters, and adults. www.aea-southasia.org
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