Education is Not a Privilege; It is a Fundamental Human Right -President Bio tells World Leaders

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By Elisha Harding

In his opening remark during the segment consisting of Ministerial and Stakeholder engagement President Julius Maada Bio, serving in the capacity as Co-Chair of the Sustainable Development Goal-4 (SDG4) High-Level Steering Committee, stated that education is not a privilege but a fundamental human right.

The Transforming Education Pre‐Summit was organized in Paris on the 28‐30 June 2022. On the 28th June, which was a Global Engagement Day, with technical meetings on Thematic Action Tracks and engagements with key stakeholders, it was Co-Chaired by the  Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Dr. Moinina David Sengeh.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and the current global economic crises have further amplified the severe education funding gap. We must therefore use this Pre-Summit strategically to rally all forces behind the call for inclusive quality education and lifelong learning for all. We do so because education is not a privilege; it is a fundamental human right,” President Bio said.

The President called on all to collectively advocate that education is not a cost but an investment in the sustainable future of their societies, children, and the planet, adding that the cost of inaction is simply not acceptable and they must therefore take affirmative responsibility by taking resolute action for education.

“We must stay focused on using the opportunity offered by the Transforming Education Summit to position education at the top of the political agenda of member States. We can do so with concrete commitments supported by strong political will at the highest levels,” he said.

As Co-Chair of the SDG4 High-Level Steering Committee, President Bio assured all that the Steering Committee stands ready to fully support, monitor, and carry forward the impetus created by the Summit.

According to President Bio, the most vulnerable, most marginalized, and most disadvantaged learners count on education stakeholders to deliver on implementing SDG 4 by 2030, so it is their collective responsibility to call for immediate and bold action towards that end.

He said education is a driving force for sustainable development, noting that it is a powerful lever for responding to some of the most pressing challenges faced by humanity including climate change, migration, youth unemployment, healthcare, and peaceful and just societies.

The President maintained how it is also a cross-cutting accelerator for the advancement of all the other SDGs, noting that any integrated, holistic, multi-sectoral approach to sustainable development must include education.

“The HLSC’s Urgent Call for Action is a call to Heads of State and Government to invest in and transform education as the clearest pathway to our shared goals of peace, prosperity, sustainability, and building resilience,” he said.

The overall objective of the Pre‐Summit was to harness the evolving discussions on transforming education, elaborate initial content and establish a shared vision and suggested actions for the Summit as well as generate greater momentum in the lead up to September.

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