UN marks International Day to Protect Education, calls for action

Anjali Sharma

GG News Bureau

UNITED NATIONS,15th Sept. UN Secretary General António Guterres on Wednesday marked the International Day to Protect Education from Attack, noted that tens of millions of children heading back to school in recent weeks for some, the return to class bring fear to their lives.

Mr. Guterres addressed the global phenomenon about growing concern over safety and security in schools during his remarks commemorated the International Day to Protect Education from Attack.

“Children’s education is being snatched away by threats, violence and attacks.” Mr. Guterres said.

According to a new report from the non-profit Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack, there were over 3,000 reported attacks on education in 2022 -a 17 per cent increase from the previous year.

The report found 6,700 students and educators were killed, injured, abducted or arrested – a 20 per cent increase.

He echoed some of the facts outlined in the report, The Secretary General noted the attacks on education span “from direct assaults on places of learning to schools and universities being used for military purposes – to students and educators abducted, arbitrarily arrested, injured, killed – and even recruited to the fighting.”

Many students attend school under dire circumstances in countries like Ukraine; suffering through Russia’s full-scale invasion, he stressed

According to news reports some children in war-torn Ukraine began the new school year attending class underground for security reasons.

Mr. Guterres said “We cannot always stop conflicts. But we can ensure that the children and young people living through these crises receive the educational support they need”.

UN has laid out ways countries around the world can work together to protect education.

“That begins with all countries endorsing the Safe Schools Declaration which details concrete measures and practices to ensure that places of learning and the people inside them are protected at all times during armed conflict”, he noted.

He emphasized that attacks on the education system are not the only factor keeping children out of school.

Others are out of class because of social, economic or cultural challenges, he said.

According to  UNESCO, an estimated 244 million young people do not attend school.

Sub-Saharan Africa is the region where most children and youths out of school are 98 million.

UNESCO added Central and Southern Asia, is second place with 85 million.

UN reiterated the importance of education in creating a pathway to a brighter future for every person and promotes a peaceful world for all.

Mr. Guterres urged world leaders to take immediate action for quality education.

“We can – and must – protect education from attack,” he concluded.

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