This shocking figure reflects a 50% decrease from estimates prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Underfunded schools, underpaid and underqualified teachers, overcrowded classrooms and archaic curricula compromise our children’s ability to reach their full potential,” said Catherine Russel, CEO of theUNICEF in a press release.
“The trajectory of our education systems is by definition, the trajectory of our future,” she added. “We must reverse current trends or suffer the consequences of depriving an entire generation of education, because low levels of learning today mean fewer opportunities tomorrow.”
Mobilization day organized by young people
The “Transforming Education” summit, which is due to last until September 19, began at the United Nations headquarters on Friday in New York with a day of mobilization organized by young people, who welcomed the UN Secretary-General , Antonio Guterresand the new President of the General Assembly, Csaba Kőrösi.
Saturday will be a “Day of Solutions” led by the Secretary-General and Amina Mohammed, the UN Deputy Secretary-General.
On Monday, António Guterres will close the summit with a statement in the presence of world leaders in the General Assembly Hall.
The education crisis will be at the heart of a series of events. In particular, the serious consequences of school closures during the pandemic on the educational level of millions of children will be illustrated by an exhibition proposed by UNICEF, drawing attention to the urgent need for a transformation of the education globally.
© UNICEF//Chris Farber
Children doomed to illiteracy
A model classroom, dubbed the “School Crisis Room” will be displayed to the public at the entrance to UN Headquarters between September 16 and 26.
A third of the writing desks in this class, designated by satchels stamped with the UNICEF emblem, will represent the number of ten-year-old children doomed to illiteracy by the flaws in education.
This is the start of a campaign by the agency to promote, under the acronym RAPID, investments in public education globally and to unlock the potential of millions of children.
Call for bold action
Also this Friday, more than 100 leaders delivered a letter calling on the Summit to commit resources to tackle the global education crisis, to pledge to take bold action, and to ensure that “the first generation of history where every child goes to school”.
This letter is signed in particular by former Presidents, Prime Ministers, Ministers of Foreign Affairs, including the former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, the former Administrator of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Helen Clark and former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
“We are so far from our goal of universal education by 2030 that if we do not act quickly and generously, we will fall even further behind our Sustainable Development Goal 4, which is to ensure inclusive education. and equitable quality and to promote lifelong learning opportunities for all,” they write.
Signatories to the letter propose “a pact for global education between developing countries and developed economies that provide donor aid.”
Through such a pact, countries would agree to increase education spending in stages to at least 4-6% of their national income, over a five-year period, and invest between 15% and 20% of all their public spending on education.
According to the letter, sustainable financing for education can be increased through national action to reform national tax systems, coupled with international action to reduce tax loopholes and illicit financial flows. At the same time, multilateral institutions can offer enhanced support to encourage the acceleration of educational opportunities.