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International Day of Education celebrated in Uganda

A cross-section of stakeholders after the commemoration of the International Day of Education in Mukono, Uganda © UNESCO

Uganda joined the rest of the world to commemorate the International Day of Education 2022 under the theme "Changing Course, Transforming Education”, celebrated annually on 24 January. The main event in Uganda took place on 23 January and was held at the Incredible Youth International Center in Mukono. The event was graced by the UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Susan Namondo Ngongi who was the guest speaker; UNICEF Country Representative, Dr. Mohamed El Munir A. Safieldin; Mr. Charles Draecabo, UNESCO National Projects Coordinator; Ministry of Education officials; Civil Society Organizations and students community among.

Ms. Susan Ngongi, while delivering her speech highlighted the critical role education continues to play in poverty reduction across all sectors in Uganda. She further stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic has been and continues to affect all sectors in the country and worldwide. She advised that, whereas the country is currently dedicating efforts towards mitigating the prevailing challenges that the pandemic has brought on the various sectors of economy, the government equally has to be cognizant of even more pertinent issues that may befall the country in future as a result of the pandemic. These include socio-economic and security related challenges.   

Without inclusive, equitable and quality education, facilitating lifelong opportunities for all, no country can succeed in breaking the cycle of poverty. I recommend a national dialogue about the transformations required to address the current and emerging challenges to make Education more relevant to the needs of Ugandans”- Ms. Susan Ngongi, UN Resident Coordinator in Uganda.

UNESCO National Projects Coordinator in Uganda, Mr. Charles Draecabo read out the message of Ms. Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO on the occasion of International Day of Education 2022. 

The celebrations in Uganda come at a time when schools are finally re-opened after nearly two years of closure because of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the lockdown, the most affected category of learners were the young adolescent girls whose absence from school deprived them of the social protection that the school environment generally provides, resulting to increased cases of teenage pregnancy, child marriage, sexual and gender-based violence, exploitation and abuse.

The move by government to reopen schools is a ray of hope for hundreds of thousands of learners who are expected to continue with their education without any interruptions and impediments. UNESCO continues to call on stakeholders in education to support governments to ensure schools remain safely open amidst the pandemic.