January 25, 2022

By Eric House

January 24 marks the International Day of Education, a UNESCO annual observance day dedicated to the power and need for education worldwide. This year’s theme, Changing Course, Transforming Education, focuses on the transformational role of education in building more peaceful and just societies. It is a day to discuss, share, and celebrate success stories and reinforce education as a critical tool in making lasting change.

We couldn’t agree more. This is the core of what World Learning and School of International Training is founded on — and what we do every day: harness the power of education to create positive social change.

While the unprecedented global challenge of COVID-19 has undoubtedly altered the learning landscape, it has also reinforced how interconnected we all are. As an organization that strengthens sustainable development through education and cross-cultural exchanges, our work is more relevant than ever before.

Because of this, here are some highlights we’re celebrating this International Day of Education:

How Children in Lebanon Learned to Love Reading

Last year, our QITABI 2 program helped administer a read-aloud program for students with special needs at 30 primary schools in Lebanon. It also created 5,000 classroom libraries and supplied them with more than 550,000 leveled reading books, 75,000 read-aloud books, and 25,000 e-stories. While these efforts set out to improve more than 300,000 students’ reading skills, it was their palpable love of books and learning that flourished.

Interdisciplinary Programs are Full STEAM Ahead

To date, 35,000 students from 40 Algerian provinces have participated in our STEAM programs to gain job-ready skills in subject areas critical to solving the complex issues facing our world. And as part of this same initiative, 220 volunteer mentors and staff led more than 2,000 student workshops, and 280 teachers completed our intensive STEAM teacher training course. This comprehensive approach to teaching and training truly exemplifies the power of education to transform lives and communities.

How the Pandemic Became an Experiential Learning Opportunity

From devising digital language courses and virtual internships to launching the SIT Critical Conversations Webinar Series, SIT has created innovative ways for students to experience the world. While nothing beats an immersive experience abroad, these programs, as SIT President Dr. Sophia Howlett describes, “keep an open window on the world — a starting point from which our students can continue their global education when the time is right.”

On this International Day of Education, these examples remind us to reflect upon the critical role of education to create a better world for all.

“Ultimately, international education and exchange cut to the core of what makes us human: to learn about and from one another, and to work together to solve the world’s most pressing issues,” said World Learning CEO Carol Jenkins.

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.