Today marks the fifth International Day of Education, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, in celebration of the role of education for peace and development.
UNESCO highlights that without inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong opportunities for all, countries will not succeed in achieving gender equality and breaking the cycle of poverty that is leaving millions of children, youth and adults behind.
Today, 244 million children and youth are out of school, and 771 million adults are illiterate. Around two thirds of these illiterate adults are women, which highlights the historical exclusion of girls and women from education.
The right to education begins at birth, lasts throughout life, and is guaranteed under international law. It is a human right, a public good, and a public responsibility. Consequently, the right to education of these children, youth and adults is being violated. In this decade, with just under seven years left to meet the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals, it is time to transform education.
There are many issues upon which education actors, CSOs, states and international organisations must come together to resolve, but today we join UNESCO in calling for the right of Afghan girls and women to learn.
Since the Taliban’s takeover, the right to education of women and girls in Afghanistan has been deprived, which puts their future and that of their country at stake. Girls and women have been banned from attending secondary school and from pursuing higher education. Currently, 80% of school-aged Afghan girls and young women — 2.5 million people — are out of school. The ban on university education overturns 20 years of momentous progress in the nation, which saw women's presence increase almost 20-fold, from 5,000 students in 2001 to over 100,000 in 2021.
Exclusion from education systems is an attack on human rights. Today, we join UNESCO in calling for the right to education of girls and women in Afghanistan. #LetAfghanGirlsLearn