Home / Education / Make 2024 ‘turning point’ for education, UN deputy chief, Amina Mohammed, urges leaders
Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General, United Nations

Make 2024 ‘turning point’ for education, UN deputy chief, Amina Mohammed, urges leaders

By Cecilia Ologunagba

New York, April 11, 2024

The UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, on Thursday called for a transformation in learning, stressing that receiving a good education represents hope for all future generations.

Addressing a high-level meeting on education, convened by the European Union (EU) in Brussels, Mohammed paid tribute in particular to the children of Gaza, who have had no education for over six months, and where there have been direct hits on 212 schools.

“Today, the light for Gaza and the children of Gaza, is out. We need a commitment to try to light that candle again for the children and the people of Gaza. Education is hope. Education is the future,” she said in  a statement.

This year will see a series of meetings that will build on Transforming Education Summit, convened by the UN in September 2022 in response to a global crisis in education, after more than 90 per cent of the world’s children lost access to the classroom during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In September this year, world leaders will gather to forge a new international consensus as part of the Summit of the Future.

Mohammed called for two specific outcomes on education at the Summit.

“First, we need a clear recognition from world leaders on the urgent need to transform and invest in education as a global imperative,” she said.

“Second, we need major breakthroughs on issues that are critical for education, including reform of the international financial architecture, strengthened digital cooperation and a new agenda for peace.”

Without additional measures, an estimated 84 million children and young people will still be denied access to the classroom by 2030, and approximately 300 million students will lack the basic – and vital – numeracy and literacy skills.

“Education is a fundamental human right. Investing in education is the greatest investment we can make in our common future, in peace, and sustainable development, and particularly in gender equality,” Mohammed said.

Contemporary education systems across the world are beset by challenges, including access, equity, relevance and digital inequality – which could leave billions of people behind, she added.

“I know that we can make 2024 a turning point for education. Let’s get to it.”

During her visit to Brussels, the Deputy Secretary-General also chaired the Governing Body meeting of the Spotlight Initiative, the world’s largest targeted effort to eliminate violence against women and girls.

The UN initiative is in partnership with the EU and other stakeholders and responds to all forms of violence against women and girls.

Its programmes across 30 countries and regions, focus on domestic and family violence, sexual and gender-based violence and rising rates of femicide, together with human trafficking.

Since 2019, the initiative has resulted in more than 2.5 million women and girls accessing gender-based violence services, and two million men and boys have been educated on positive masculinity.

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