International Day of Education Brings Appreciation to Community


Photo Courtesy of PIXNIO

According to UNESCO research, as many as 258 million children and youth still do not go to school. There are an estimated 617 million children and adolescents who cannot read or do basic math. There are also a considerable amount of young girls who do not receive the same educational benefits as their male counterparts.

Sandhya Ganesan, Co-Editor-In-Chief

To raise awareness for the transformative benefits of education, the United Nations Education, Social, and Cultural Organization named January 24 as the International Day of Education. 

This year is the fourth International Day of Education, and UNESCO has chosen the theme to be “Changing Course, Transforming Education”. 

“Being educated means being curious and self-driven. Society has decided there are some fundamental topics we should all have a general understanding of, however true education is the responsibility of each individual. A person who is truly curious and wants to be educated will seek out answers from a variety of sources and for as long as it takes to satisfy their curiosity. The element of surprise piques our curiosity and drives us to seek new answers to our questions,” said English teacher Christy Bak-Boychuk. 

Education is (or should be) a right. Everyone should be able to be educated, should they choose to be (and I hope they do). I would hope, though this is not always true, that the only thing preventing someone from becoming educated is themselves. In reality, there is a degree of privilege in education, definitely in formal education, but I believe there is also some choice in whether you are educated or uneducated,

— Lauren Smith

UNESCO maintains inclusive and equitable education as one of their objectives. In areas of the world, schooling remains a privilege for many groups and is one of the strategies used to marginalize them in society. 

“Having been stationed in parts of the world where education is not the norm for children makes you understand how lucky we are in the U.S. of A that everyone gets offered the opportunity to attend school. If you think Chemistry is hard, try walking 15 miles a day to gather water,” said Physics and Chemistry teacher Mark Groothius. 

Education is considered as a right in the United States for children, but after a certain point, higher education is considered more of a privilege. Movements to make higher education more accessible have swelled in support, and even have gotten legislative backing, such as Governor Gavin Newsom’s signing of the College Affordability and Accessibility legislation. These bills and arguments seek to establish all education as a right, and want to highlight its transformative properties. 

“Choosing whether education is a right or a privilege is based on how you define it. If education is simply the opportunity to learn regardless of who we are, it is a fundamental right. However, it turns quickly to a privilege when one factors in safety, equity, participation, and personal lives. An education allows us to see and understand both sides of this debate, windows not mirrors,” said science teacher Tyler Deshon. 

In celebration of International Education Day, many teachers and individuals newly realize their love for learning and the importance of education, and SJHHS is no exception. 

“I believe everyone deserves an education, and they should pursue it as much as they can. Depending on where, when and whom we are talking about, education can look quite differently. For example, not everyone has access to schools and universities, but that doesn’t mean they don’t get educated. I know people who are way more educated than I am in so many ways, and they never finished second grade. I don’t believe education is a privilege, but rather a staple for a successful society,” said AP Spanish V and AVID teacher Fernanda Villalba.   

As a community not only can we appreciate the education that is given by right, but also promote the benefits of education and work to promote educational equity not just on International Day of Education, but everyday.