“I am in Grade Three”: Rights of the Child on International Day of Education 2022
24 January 2022
“I am in Grade three (3) and I want to go to high school” says Freeman.
Today, 24 January 2022 marks the fourth International Day of Education with the theme “Changing Course, Transforming Education” and the celebration will be led the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). This day was sanctioned on 3 December 2018 when the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution (resolution 73/25) in celebration of the role of education for peace and development. According to UNESCO, the day aims to showcase the most important transformations that must be nurtured to realize everyone’s fundamental right to education and build a more sustainable, inclusive, and peaceful future.
Creating such educational environment is important to children as young as this young boy, Freeman Purari, who is doing his lower-primary this year at Barewoturu Primary School in the Oro Province (also known as Northern Province) of Papua New Guinea. “I am in grade three (3) and I want to go to high school” says Freeman. “My preferred high school is Martyr Memorial Secondary School and from there I want to join the army because I want to be a soldier”.
Such dreams can be achieved by children in Papua New Guinea, and this can only occur when a child is given the opportunity to be educated and career platforms are created to promote learning in all aspects of life.
Echoing UNESCO statement, in that the right to education is enshrined in article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The declaration calls for free and compulsory elementary education. The Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted in 1989, goes further to stipulate that countries shall make higher education accessible to all. When it adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015, the international community recognized that education is essential for the success of all 17 of its goals. Sustainable Development Goal 4 aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” by 2030.
Supporting the children are mothers from Barewoturu village such as Mrs. Lina Evarako and Mrs. Naomi Wardman who aired their fears. “I want my children to capture what they understand in school clearly. Due to language barrier, understanding English sometimes becomes an issue. How can this be solved?”, says Lina with teary eyes.
Naomi also shares her heartfelt concerns “My daughter is in high school, and I worry if she is going to make it to tertiary education. I am a simple village woman who never made it to high school and so I do not know how to help her with her studies”.
Understanding the gap where parents with limited education background are struggling to impart knowledge and looking at best practices where platforms are created for parent-children education support should be a route to take.
Basing on the theme “Changing Course, Transforming Education”, the Government of Papua New Guinea must constantly evolve to prioritize the young generation of this nation with the aim to strengthen education as a public endeavour and common good, must know how to steer the digital transformation, support teachers and parents, safeguard the planet and unlock the potential in every person to contribute to collective well-being and our shared home.
To transform education, we need solutions adapted to each region, community and individual.