Nelson Mandela has said, “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world”. Education is an inevitable human right. It’s a safeguard of liberty. It’s one of the driving forces for development. It is inevitable for reducing poverty, improving health, gender equality, peace, prosperity and stability in the world. Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom. Education is vital in meeting sustainable development goals. Providing education to the children gives the next generation the tools to fight poverty and prevent diseases including diseases like malaria and AIDS.

“Access to quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030” is the sustainable development goal number 4 of United Nations. Though education plays a pivotal role in shaping our lives still the kids dropping out from schools is high each year. The facts are alarming. Around one million kids every year drop out from high school around the world. Yet the progress and hope are still alive.

Many countries have committed themselves to more than the achievement of universal primary education. And now include several years of secondary school in their national targets. According to UNICEF, globally 84 percent of lower secondary school age children are in either primary or secondary school, dropping to less than 70 percent in low-income countries. From 2000 AD to 2015 AD, the number of out-of-school children of lower secondary school age shrank from 97 million to 62 million according to UNICEF. But progress has slowed since 2007. Challenges to secondary school participation are greatest in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goal for 2030

The world community has set a deadline of 2030 for inclusive and equitable quality education for all through the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal. We can reimagine the future of our children and the world through education. It is a basic and inevitable human right. Each community should advocate high-quality, child-friendly education for all, with an emphasis on gender equality eliminating disparities of all kinds.

There are a lot of things that need to be improved in our education system. There is this fallacy of good grades that exist in our minds and in our education system. Grades solely do not determine the ability of a student and often we find that our society and education system is carrying this fallacy of good grades. This stereotypical view regarding a student’s ability needs to be changed. Meanwhile, the education that we are giving to our children needs to be enriched and accompanied by human values too so that we don’t only manufacture machines to work in the industrialized world but also make really educated and humane people to preserve the essence of humanity in this world and to make this world a better place.

This is a very hopeful and positive thing that literacy among youth is rising in the world. According to UNICEF globally, the youth literacy rate increased from 83 percent to 91 percent over two decades, while the number of illiterate youth declined from 170 million to 115 million. Regional and gender disparities exist however and the world needs to unite to end these disparities. Literacy is lowest among least developed countries and higher among males than females. In the most recent years, young women accounted for 59 percent of total illiterate youth population according to UNICEF.

Education is right, not a privilege

Education is not a privilege. In fact, it’s a human right. The right to education has been recognized in a number of international and regional legal instruments: treaties, conventions, charters and also in soft laws such as general comments, declarations, and recommendation. UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education and the International on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights guarantee the right to education generally, that is, for all people. International Declarations, such as the 2011 Jomtien Statement, recognize that states should spend at least 6 percent of their GDP or at least 20 percent of their national budgets on education in order to achieve quality education for all. In some states, the national education budget is guaranteed by the constitution or legislation, for example in Brazil, Indonesia, and Costa Rica.

Let’s stand together united as a global community to protect this inevitable human right of education. Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities. Because, in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength of the nation. Currently, the World Bank Group is also playing a significant role in education globally. Education is fundamental to growth and development. World Bank Group encourages higher enrollment to promote learning for all. Education should be accessible to all.

Global Education First Initiative

The Syrian refugee kids in Jatari camp of Jordan are now attending their school education and some of them have the dream to become a dentist, an engineer and some of them say that what we want for us is that this education should not be taken away from us so that one day we can become able in life, we can go back to Syria and rebuild our country. These refugee kids should not be the lost generation as a victim of terrorism and extremism. These kids equally have a right to education. So we should make sure that these kids get access to quality education.

Commitments made at the international level, including the World Program of Action For Youth and Education For All Goals as well as the Global Education First Initiative, identify education as a key priority for action. We all should play our roles from our own level for providing quality education to all. Education is an inevitable human right and we must protect it.

-Shikha Lamsal