As Uganda joined the rest of the world to Commemorate International Day of Education on 24th January 2021 themed “Recover and Revitalize Education for the COVID19 Generation”, The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), noted that the pandemic created the largest disruption of the education system thereby affecting 1.6million learners in more than 190 counties.
UNESCO a specialized agency of the United Nations aimed at promoting world peace and security through international cooperation in education, the sciences, and culture. In Uganda, UNECSO supports the Ministry of Education and Sports in teachers’ professional and policy development, as well as the use of technology for capacity building in education, vocational education and training.
As youth, the question of what next lingers on our mind each time the right to education is getting disrupted by such circumstances like calamities, early teenage pregnancies, lack of family support for some girls to be sent to school, limited financing towards the education sector, education not being a major priority focus for some governments among others. So what next?? And if we get to answer that with some strategies, how then do we realize these goals for the betterment of the COVID19 Generation?
The need to address this child right crisis created by the pandemic calls for not only government urgency but also collaborated action of stakeholders. To mark the day, the United Nations Association of Uganda (UNAU) Secretary General says “ Any education that will benefit the learners has to be relevant to their context, has to equip them to work meaningfully in their local as well as global circumstances and must necessarily be inclusive of all the key stakeholders”. Parents, teachers, schools, civil societies, private sector, development partners like the United Nations and the general public need to triple efforts in ensuring continuity of the education.
Recognizing the UN’s role in promoting transformative education, the United Nations Uganda Resident Coordinator Ms.Rosa Malango says “ we have a once in a generation opportunity to reimagine education and empower a new generation”. She divulged this message during the commemoration of the International Day of Education event organized by members of the Youth Coalition for SDGs Uganda hosted by Incredible Youth International Centre in Kabembe Town in Mukono. Ms.Malango called for national commitment towards the Sustainable Development Goal 4 on Education which aims to ‘ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’.
The Resident Coordinator categorically emphasized; supporting teachers’ development, rapidly modernizing the education system, leveraging digital learning to unlock transformational change as every child and young person gets connected to internet. As well as enabling every household to improve its quality of life by linking produce to markets and empowering communities to share positive values about tolerance, productivity and good citizenship.
For us to leverage on the opportunities amassed through the pandemic such as online studies, increased parental involvement in children’s education, better teacher-student follow-up, and improved observance of primary health care practices, we all must appreciate the value of transformative education. Hopefully, we then get to appreciate Nelson Mandela’s saying that “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”