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Education: access and quality are human rights

Education is a human right. This right concerns not only access but also the content of education. Education is essential to enable individuals and societies to meet diverse challenges, such as those we are witnessing due to the Covid-19 health crisis and its aftermath.

On International Education Day this 24 January we reflect upon the hardships brought by the pandemic in which millions of students, including those in the European neighbourhood and enlargement countries where the ETF is active, no longer had access to school or to learning. It is also a day to celebrate the triumphs as students, teachers, schools, governments, the private and civic sectors came together to offset the difficulties and maintain and improve education, as outlined in the ETF mapping reports as part of our #LearningConnects campaign.

Sadly, those most exposed to the ravages of the pandemic are the most vulnerable for whom upholding their right to quality education is an ongoing struggle. As schools remain closed inequalities deepen.

EU in the world

The European Union is at the forefront of supporting education worldwide. To address the immediate health crisis and mitigate the socioeconomic impact significant resources from existing external action resources have been dedicated to fight Covid-19 and its socio-economic consequences. In addition, Next Generation EU, the European Union’s Covid-19 recovery package adopted in July also has an external dimension.

The ETF plays a vital role in ensuring that EU support to partner countries contributes to sustainable reforms of education, training and labour market systems to empower all citizens through education and training, in particular the most vulnerable, to acquire the skills they need to overcome the current challenges.

European Child Guarantee

In 2021 the European Union will adopt the European Child Guarantee which will help ensure that every child in Europe at risk of poverty or social exclusion has access to the fundamental rights including education. It will take into account other more recent international initiatives in the social policy field such as the European Pillar of Social Rights (Principle 11 in particular), the broader United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)  and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

The ETF’s work is devised and delivered in the context of the European Union’s policies and the EU's external relations priorities in support of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, supporting quality education and decent work and economic growth.

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