Statement on the International Day of Education
by Gillian Mellsop, UNICEF Representative in Ethiopia
Addis Ababa, 24 January 2019 - "We are delighted to be marking the first International Day of Education in Ethiopia and worldwide. Education plays a pivotal role in peace and development, which is why in December 2018 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming 24 January as International Day of Education. This year’s theme is “Education: A key Driver for Inclusion and Empowerment.”
We welcome the new resolution and are happy to celebrate the joint efforts taking place to ensure access to quality education is provided to all Ethiopian children and refugee children living in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia has made remarkable progress in education, especially since children make up 48 per cent of the population and will soon be leaders in various spheres of life. We have seen primary school enrolment tripling between 2000 and 2016 (at a current net enrolment rate of 99.9 per cent) and the youth literacy rate for ages 15-24 improving from 49.9 per cent in 2005 to 69.5 per cent in 2016. Girls’ net enrolment rates at primary level have also increased from 51.8 percent in 2004 to 95.5 per cent in 2017.
UNICEF, the Government, and partners are dedicated to ensuring all children, including refugees and internally displaced children, are included in education services. Major investments are being made to ensure that millions of refugee and internally displaced children in Ethiopia can attend school in safe environments. However, we need to do more to reach the considerable number of out-of-school children, which is estimated at 2.6 million, and improving the quality of education across the country. Most of these children are in remote and rural locations, including pastoralist areas, and face social, economic and geographical challenges.
UNICEF and its partners in Ethiopia will remain committed to supporting the Ministry of Education to provide equal access to education and improve the quality of education for all children."
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.