“It has always been shocking to me that education has been given such a low priority in many government policies and in international cooperation instruments,” he said adding, the theme of this year’s International Day of Education reminds us that “to invest in people, prioritize education.”

“Now is also the time to end all discriminatory laws and practices that hinder access to education. I call on the de facto authorities in Afghanistan in particular to reverse the outrageous and self-defeating ban on access to secondary and higher education for girls,” he added.

The UN chief also encouraged countries to place education at the heart of preparations for the SDG Summit in 2023 and the Summit of the Future in 2024.

“Most of all, I urge civil society and youth to continue calling for more and better investment in quality education. Let us keep the flame of transformation burning,” he added.

The UN chief insisted investment is critical to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4.

Last year’s Transforming Education Summit gathered the world together to reimagine education systems so every learner accesses the knowledge and skills required to succeed, he added.

Antonio Guterres went on saying over 130 countries made commitments to ensure that universal quality education becomes a central pillar of public policies and investments. A Call to Action on Educational Investment and the establishment of the International Financing Facility for Education created a fresh push on domestic and international financing.

And the Summit launched a range of global initiatives to mobilize support for education in crises settings, girls’ education, foundational learning, transforming teaching, digital tools, and green education systems.

Now is the time for all countries to translate their Summit commitments into concrete actions that create supportive and inclusive learning environments for all students, Antonio Guterres said.