Discussions are currently underway in Switzerland as to whether or not schools should be closed in view of the ongoing pandemic.
On the one hand, it is argued that this would reduce the number of contacts and the number of cases. On the other hand, it is also pointed out - and rightly so - that a switch to distance learning would leave many children and young people, especially those from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds, further behind in school. A look at the global south reveals a much more problematic picture: 258 million children and young people there have no access to education or the chance to complete their schooling, even in pandemic-free times.
To remind people of this, the international community is proclaiming International Education Day for the third time in 2021. It is intended to draw attention to what every human being would be entitled to according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: education. In Article 26, for example, the Declaration of Human Rights calls for free and compulsory education. The Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted in 1989, goes somewhat further. It demands that higher education be made available to all children & young people worldwide.
Opportunity to free children from poverty
Why is education so important? Education is an essential component of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDG). It is through education that a change in thinking and behavior is possible, giving children the opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty and work towards a more promising future. Yet for many, access to education remains denied by poverty, discrimination, armed conflict, emergencies, and the effects of climate change.
Horyzon is making efforts in all of its programs to achieve the goal of education for all. This year, education is even a thematic focus at Horyzon and is repeatedly explained with concrete examples from our programs. Horyzon's programs offer activities in four areas:
- Promoting access to education
- Building life skills
- Training of caregivers
- Vocational training