President of Sierra Leone, His Excellency Rit. Brigadier Julius Maada Bio, Delivers Inspirational Speech at 4th International Day to Protect Education from Attack.
In his speech, the President began by expressing his delight at attending the event and underscored the significance of safeguarding education from attacks. He emphasized the importance of working towards Sustainable Development Goal 4: “Ensuring Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education and Promoting Lifelong Learning Opportunities for All.”
He further extended his gratitude to the State of Qatar and other organizers for hosting this remarkable event for leaders.
“Let me firstly express my gratitude to the State of Qatar, the Education Above All Foundation, UNESCO and UNICEF for organising this forum and for the important invitation extended to me to lay out a national leader’s perspective, highlighting the important steps we have taken in Sierra Leone and internationally to shield education from attack, and holistically to transform education,” he said.
Furthermore, he emphasized the fundamental right to education and shared his personal experience of pursuing education during his formative years, even in a household where his mother was illiterate.
“The right to education is priceless, so it MUST be protected at all cost. Championing the right to an education for every child in Sierra Leone and the world is not mere political rhetoric or something that will go out of style with me. My dear late mother, Yei Amie, gave me the right to an education. Though a widow at an early age and an illiterate, she somehow education and sacrificed her all to put me through school,” he lamented.
He proceeded to commend the State of Qatar for adopting the General Assembly Resolution and urged fellow leaders to take similar actions in raising awareness about the challenges faced by children affected by various forms of attacks.
“I commend the State of Qatar for its leadership in unanimously adopting the General Assembly resolution proclaiming September 9 as the International Day to Protect Education from Attack on May 28 2020. In addition to raising awareness of the plight of millions of children faced with the adverse effects of the attacks on education, as leaders and governments, the resolution is clear on what we must do to discharge the primary responsibility to provide protection and ensure inclusive and equitable quality,” he said.
To end his speech, he said, “Today, as we commemorate the International
Day to Protect Education from Attack, I call on all Member States of the United Nations who have not yet done so to endorse the Safe Schools Declaration and respect its provisions. Parties in conflict situations must also commit to respecting the provisions of the Safe Schools Declaration. As the African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” We are all in this together. Our actions must be universal, inclusive, and equitable.”