“Schools must be places of learning, safety and peace”, he said, lauding education as not only providing knowledge and skills but also transforming lives and driving development for people, communities and for societies.
Nevertheless, he added, “year after year, this fundamental right comes under attack”.
Stretching the imagination
The top UN official encouraged the participants to imagine being a child in a classroom eager to learn, or a teacher dedicated to shaping the minds of the next generation.
“Now imagine the horrors inflicted by conflict on learning”, he said, painting a picture of schools being targeted, destroyed – or used for military purposes – and of children facing violence, exploitation, even being recruited to fight – simply because they want to study.
The Secretary-General cited the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack in revealing that between 2015 and 2020, over 13,000 reports of strikes on education, or the