Jeddah (UNA-OIC) – The Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) called upon all Member States to intensify their efforts to uphold the right to education as a key strategy to mitigate and recover from the damaging effects of COVID-19 and to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
This came in the statement of the Commission on the occasion of the 54th anniversary of the ‘International Literacy Day’, which is observed yearly on 8 September to remind the international community of the importance of literacy for individuals, communities, and societies.
Referring to the 2020 theme, which focuses on “literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond”, IPHRC highlighted that the ongoing pandemic has significantly impacted the school systems around the world.
According to the latest UNESCO statistics, during 2020, schools were closed, disrupting the education of 62.3 percent of the world’s student population. Furthermore, the ongoing pandemic has deepened the existing gap both within and among the countries to guarantee the right to education for all.
Vulnerable communities, especially girls and all those who have limited access to the internet and digital technologies, continue to face several barriers to access the school system. Hence, the need to formulate effective policies, systems measures, and governance mechanisms to integrate all, especially children living at the fringes of society, in the learning process to acquire literacy skills needed for their integration in society, the Commission added.
The Jeddah-based Commission stressed that these challenges require global cooperation, including the sharing of technologies and learning practices based on a human rights approach to help those left behind and promote inclusive education to all learners.
Furthermore, in working toward realizing the UN 2030 Sustainable Devolvement Agenda, the Commission reminded that its Goal-4 has as one of its targets the aim of ‘ensuring all young people achieve literacy and numeracy and that adults, who lack these skills are given the opportunity to acquire them.’
While commending the efforts and progress made by all OIC Member States in expanding access to education in recent years, the Commission urged them to continue prioritizing education in the ongoing crisis of COIVD-19, including the development of alternative learning methods that guarantee the continuation of teaching while ensuring to required public health safety measures. At the core of this, governments should invest in preparing, empowering, and motivating the education workforce, especially teachers, to continue their noble mission to build literacy skills of the next generation, which will be instrumental in promoting and protecting human rights and achieving sustainable development for all.