Investing in education so every child can learn

January 24, 2023

Today is International Day of Education, a day designated by the United Nations to celebrate the transformative potential of education to combat poverty. The international community has designated the theme for this fifth #InternationalDayOfEducation as: “to invest in people, prioritize education.” This theme underscores the critical role of financing to support inclusive, quality education at all levels, including foundational literacy and numeracy.  Today, we invite you to view the International Day of Education 2023: To Invest in People, Prioritize Education event at UN Headquarters in New York City and online on UN Web TV. According to UNESCO: “Only lifelong education starting in the earliest years in life can break the cycle of poverty, improve health outcomes, prepare people for decent jobs with opportunities to reskill and upskill, and mitigate the climate crisis.”

Education offers children a ladder out of poverty and a path to a promising future. But about 244 million children and adolescents around the world are out of school, and 617 million children and adolescents have not had the educational access to learn to read and do basic math. Marginalized communities are often the most affected; less than 40% of girls in sub-Saharan Africa have the opportunity to complete lower secondary school and four million refugees are out of school. Without inclusive and equitable foundational learning for all, countries risk leaving millions of young people behind, depriving them of their fundamental human right to education.

The international community chose today’s theme about investing in education because funding for these efforts is an urgent need, as is international cooperation to ensure maximum impact of these funds. Despite the work of the U.S. Government to date, much more needs to be done.

Our Call to Action!

Congressional Advocacy to Promote International Collaboration

On this International Day of Education, Representatives Grace Meng (NY-6), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1), and Mike Quigley (IL-5) have released a bipartisan Resolution affirming the role of the United States in improving access to quality, inclusive public education and improving learning outcomes for children. Today we join these bold leaders in their bipartisan Resolution to encourage the U.S. to prioritize education access in both the budget and any international humanitarian action. We also call on Congress to center children most marginalized by oppressive systems like girls and children with disabilities. The Resolution emphasizes equitable access to #foundationallearning, and we affirm and applaud this focus. Taking these steps can help USAID to realize its foundational learning goals represented by the Commitment to Action on Foundational Learning, which the U.S. has endorsed.

There’s also a bipartisan bill, re-introduced today in the Senate, that would have a huge impact on the U.S.’s global education policies. Reauthorizing the READ Act will make U.S. foreign aid more effective and maintain our government’s commitment to global education. 

Now that the bill has been re-introduced in the Senate, we need you to urge your senators to join as cosponsors. You can check if your members of Congress are supporters, and use #READActReauthorization to join the global education community in calling on Congress to pass this crucial bill. Gaining cosponsors will show Congressional leadership that this is a critically important bill that will affect millions of students around the world. Vocal constituent support for the bill also underscores for Congress the importance of global collaboration to support foundational learning, as the READ Act Reauthorization recognizes the key role of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

Finally, we hope you will join our global partners in amplifying these calls through the following social media tools and resources:

View the press release statements from Congress on International Day of Education:

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