Commonwealth Parliamentarians are marking International Day of Education on 24 January on a day that celebrates the vital role of education for peace, development and democracy. This year, the third International Day of Education highlights the theme of 'Recover and Revitalise Education for the COVID-19 Generation', recognising the importance of continuing education both during and after the current COVID-19 pandemic.
According to UNESCO data*, 258 million children and youth still do not attend school; 617 million children and adolescents cannot read and do basic maths; fewer than 40% of girls in sub-Saharan Africa complete lower secondary school and some four million children and youth refugees are out of school. This situation has only been accelerated under the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Stephen Twigg, a former Education Minister, said: "Commonwealth Parliamentarians recognise the importance of education for global development and democracy and these values are enshrined in the Commonwealth Charter and 2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDG 4). Many Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures are playing their role by providing resources and activities for schools and educators which are needed more than ever."
The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) has a Teachers’ Resource Pack on 'Commonwealth, Parliament and Democracy' in collaboration with the British Council and the Commonwealth Secretariat designed for teachers to assist their students aged 7-14 in learning and thinking critically about the Commonwealth, parliaments and democracy more broadly.
The Parliament of New Zealand's Education team has recently launched a new toolkit for secondary schools on 'Democracy's Response in a Crisis'. Examining the powers that were brought in by the New Zealand Government last year to combat COVID-19, the toolkit aims to help students understand the role of democracy in the current pandemic.
A further resource for Parliamentarians has been launched by the International Parliamentary Network for Education. They have published a briefing for Members of Parliament which advocates for the vital importance of education as countries respond to COVID-19 and highlights measures that can be implemented to meet the critical task of protecting and growing finance for education.
To access the CPA's teachers resource visit www.cpahq.org/cpahq/teachersresource.
*UNESCO data source: https://en.unesco.org/commemorations/educationday