senegal children in school SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images

The World’s Responsibility to Educate

Every country has the responsibility to ensure that all children – including girls and those from disadvantaged backgrounds – get a good education. Senegal’s experience highlights the challenges and opportunities that many low- and middle-income countries face in meeting this goal.

DAKAR –January 24 is the first International Day of Education. It is a day of shared global responsibility, because every country has an obligation to ensure that all the world’s children get a good education, including the 262 million children and youth who currently do not attend school. But what exactly does shared responsibility entail?

Our first responsibility is to educate every child, especially the most marginalized among them, in our own countries, because this contributes to national development, prosperity, and stability. But we should also help to educate children beyond our borders, not only because each child has an inherent human right to education, but also because an educated global population yields benefits for our own countries.

When more people have the critical knowledge and technical skills they need to succeed, the whole world benefits. Countries with better-educated populations become increasingly valuable trading partners and contribute more to the world economy. They are also less likely to generate political instability, conflicts, or health crises that can spread far beyond their own borders.

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