The International Day of Education, celebrated every year on January 24, is an important global event that honors and promotes the transformative power of education. In 2024, UNESCO is highlighting the crucial function of education and educators in addressing the growing challenge of hate speech, particularly in the digital realm.

The theme for the 2024 International Day of Education underscores the increasing problem of hate speech, exacerbated by social media usage. This issue is a major concern for maintaining societal cohesion and peace worldwide. Education’s role in this situation extends beyond imparting academic knowledge; it involves cultivating values of respect, tolerance, and mutual understanding among diverse groups​​.

To mark the day, UNESCO and the Group of Friends for Education and Lifelong Learning convened a high-level panel at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. This gathering aimed to mobilize a wide array of stakeholders, including Member States, UN bodies, NGOs, educators, and young people, to deliberate on the peace-promoting function of education. Additionally, the SDG4 Youth & Student Network held a panel at the Learning Planet Festival, showcasing the vital contribution of youth leadership to educational goals and the broader Sustainable Development Goals (SDG4)​​.

The World Bank observed the day with its #StartTheStory campaign, emphasizing the transformative impact of books, storytelling, and reading materials. This initiative encouraged sharing personal stories about how reading and learning have shaped lives, highlighting that educational journeys begin well before formal schooling. Ensuring access to a variety of reading materials is key to eradicating learning poverty and equipping children with skills for their future​​.

Despite progress, there are still challenges in achieving universal, quality education. Many children and adults worldwide continue to be deprived of basic education and literacy. The International Day of Education is a call to action to bridge these educational divides. It stresses the importance of making primary and secondary education accessible to all and enhancing youth participation in educational initiatives​​.

This day also underscores the integral role of education in sustainable development. Providing quality education is critical for societal progress and empowerment. It enables individuals to think critically, formulate goals, and positively contribute to their communities and the world.

The International Day of Education in 2024 stands as a global call to leverage education to create a more peaceful, tolerant, and inclusive society. It highlights the collective responsibility to ensure that every person has access to quality education, paving the way toward a more equitable and sustainable future. Celebrating this day reminds us of the profound influence education has on individual lives and society, reinforcing our shared duty to advocate for and support lifelong learning opportunities for all.