International Day for the Eradication of Poverty: Access to education at risk amid new economic and climate challenges


In a world dominated by globalisation, technologies, and economic turbulences, poverty remains a serious issue that hinders the human rights of millions of people in the world, including the human right of education. This year, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty focuses on the theme “Acting together to achieve social and environmental justice for all". This celebration on 17 October is also marked by unprecedent economic and social challenges deriving from the COVID-19 crisis that inflicted an abrupt setback to the combat against poverty.

Poverty is one of the major obstacles that prevent an equal access to education, with detrimental consequences on students’ future achievements and their participation in the society.  In its recent Statement on a European Child Guarantee initiative, ETUCE underlines the crucial importance of providing high-quality inclusive education from the very early age to tackles socio-economic inequalities and overcome poverty. We highlight that education is not only human right, but it is also a key factor to enhance equal society and prepare young people to be active citizens responsible for the sustainable future.

During the last months, the COVID-19 crisis sharpened the existing inequalities and inflicted its most dramatic effects on poor and disadvantaged people. As ETUCE underlined in a Statement on tackling the COVID-19 crisis, the education sector has been profoundly impacted: during the lockdown, all schools had to readapt their activities and switched to the online teaching and learning. Teachers and education trade unions have been working tirelessly to ensure high-quality education, but students at risk of poverty and social exclusion struggled to keep pace. Members organisations reported that many disadvantaged and vulnerable students remained excluded from the educational activities as they did not have access to internet connection and lacked appropriate IT equipment and support. While the European countries are now facing the second wave of the virus and schools lack safe and healthy conditions, the World Bank warns that the COVID-19 crisis will push other 71 millions of people in extreme poverty globally.

On the occasion, the ETUCE European Director Susan Flocken underlines “Education has a crucial role to reduce poverty, social exclusion and to educate citizens toward the new challenges of climate changes. Government must recognise that that there is no equality without equal and inclusive education with a holistic approach. We need sustainable public funding to guarantee equal access to high quality education to all students, regardless of their economic possibilities. Also, teachers who constantly work to support students need to be ensured of decent working conditions and continuous professional development to be equipped with the right tools to educate and support students in their learning and growing path.”.


To know more about the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, please, click here.