Education - which many children are often denied, especially in the poorest countries - is fundamental, not only for the growth of individuals, but also for the development of society as a whole, because it is the most effective tool for combating inequality, poverty, marginalisation and exploitation. International Education Day on 24 January, established by the United Nations, invites reflection on the importance of education as a right for all as well as a public good, also in view of the major changes imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Closed schools and distance learning have had a considerable impact on the lives of young people, in many cases exacerbating the inequalities of opportunity between deprived and more fortunate children and young people. The topic of the 2022 edition of the anniversary is Changing course, transforming education.
"This year's International Day of Education – it reads on the UN website – will constitute a platform for dialogue to show the most important transformations to be cultivated to guarantee everyone the fundamental right to education and build a more sustainable, inclusive and peaceful future. It will spark a debate on how to strengthen education as a public purpose and common good, how to drive digital transformation, support teachers, safeguard the planet and unlock the potential in each person to contribute to the well-being of the community and of our shared home".
The right to education is enshrined in the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (Articles 28 and 29). Education is also mentioned in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a programme of action for people, planet and prosperity signed in September 2015 by the governments of UN member countries: in particular, Sustainable Development Goal number 4 aims to "provide quality, equitable and inclusive education and lifelong learning opportunities for all" by 2030.
Furthermore, education is one of the three areas of focus that form the pillars of an important national document: the Fifth National Plan of Action and Interventions for the Protection of the Rights and Development of Persons of Evolving Age, approved on 21 May 2021 by the National Observatory for Children and Adolescents. The Plan - available on the website of the Department for Family Policies, in the dedicated page - promotes innovative and reinforcing measures in favour of children and is consistent with the contents of the other actions in favour of families and children and adolescents, through the national coordination bodies, such as the National Observatory on the Family and the Observatory for the fight against paedophilia and child pornography.
Education is also the focus of some public announcements issued in 2020 by the Department for Family Policies: EduCare, aimed at promoting projects, including experimental and innovative projects, of both non-formal and informal education and play activities for the empowerment of children and adolescents; Educare in comune - Educating in the community, intended to promote projects, including experimental ones, to combat educational poverty and support cultural, training and educational opportunities for children and young people (the subject areas to be funded are family as a resource, relationships and inclusion, culture, art and environment); Educate together, aimed at promoting projects involving experimental and innovative educational and playful activities for the empowerment of children and adolescents in the fields of active citizenship, non-discrimination, intergenerational dialogue, environment and healthy lifestyles. The notices are available on the Department's website, on the page dedicated to notices.
For a more in-depth look at the topic of the Day, see the two UNESCO reports Reimagining our futures together: a new social contract for education and Global Education Monitoring. The first calls for a reform of school curricula and teaching methods to meet the challenges of climate change, digital transition and globalisation, while the second warns of the growing phenomenon of inequality and exclusion from school, both caused by high costs and weak regulation of private education by states. Both publications are available on the Unesco Digital Library website: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/home.
Interesting food for thought can also be found on the Reggio Children website (https://www.reggiochildren.it/), an international centre for the defence and promotion of the rights and potential of children, which was set up to enhance and strengthen the experience of the local municipal infant-toddler centres and preschools in Reggio Emilia, known in Italy and throughout the world as the Reggio Emilia Approach®. Through its different but interconnected activities, Reggio Children works to experiment, promote and spread quality education throughout the world.
Lastly, we propose the following study materials selected from the Innocenti Library A.C. Moro: bibliographic research on education; bibliographic research on education; bibliographic research on educational poverty; bibliographic research on the right to education/training; bibliographic research on the right to education/training of disabled children and adolescents.
Other materials and news are available on this website under the topics Education, accessible through the navigation menu "Topics".