TODAY marks the start of Global Action Week for Education (GAWE) 2024 – a critical time for us to raise our voices and demand transformative action to fulfill the human right to quality, inclusive education for all.  GAWE is hinged on the theme:  Invest in public and transformative education

As education movements and advocates around the world mobilize, we must confront the sobering reality that this fundamental right remains out of reach for millions of children. Four years after Zimbabwe passed the Education Amendment Act, intended to align the education system with the progressive 2013 Constitution, there has been little visible transformation on the ground, thus negation is deliberate.

Research paints a disturbing picture – rising dropout rates, lack of basic necessities like sanitary pads, and a complete absence of success stories demonstrating the law’s impact. This is unacceptable. The government’s refrain of “subject to availability of resources” is a transparent excuse for inaction. We know the resources exist, if only the political will did as well.

Education is not just about learning outcomes – it is a powerful driver of social justice, equality, and sustainable development. Truly transformative education must be anchored in human rights, centering the dignity and full participation of each child. This means addressing the intersecting barriers of poverty, discrimination, and violence that keep too many young people, especially girls, from accessing their right to learn.

The 2020 education reforms in Zimbabwe held great promise – provision of sanitary products, protection for pregnant students, accessible infrastructure, and free schooling from early childhood to secondary. Yet these rights remain largely unimplemented, as the government reneges on its constitutional obligations. This is a betrayal of Zimbabwe’s children and a violation of international human rights law.

Throughout the world, education is in crisis. Global progress has stalled, with the COVID-19 pandemic pushing millions more out of school. These devastating statistics reveal the shocking failure of political leaders to prioritize and protect children’s education. When so much is at stake – from individual opportunity to community resilience and global stability – we cannot continue with business as usual.

Education has immense power to transform realities, but only when students feel safe, valued and fully included. Realizing this vision requires comprehensive, rights-based reforms – overhauling curricula, bolstering teaching capacity, and ensuring adequate, equitable funding. It demands that we center the voices and experiences of marginalized communities in designing education policies and practices.

As we join the global chorus this GAWE, let us be clear: Transformative education is not a nicety, but an imperative. Our children’s futures – and the future of our world – depend on it. The time for action is now. We will accept nothing less than full implementation of the right to quality, inclusive education for every child.