24 July 2017
International Youth Day takes place on 12 August every year, and was first designated by the UN General Assembly in 1999. It celebrates the role young women and men as essential partners in change, and brings youth issues to the attention on the international community and celebrating the potential of youth as partners in today’s global society.The theme of International Youth Day 2019 is ‘Transforming Education’, it highlights efforts to make education more relevant, equitable and inclusive for all youth, including efforts by youth themselves. Rooted in Goal 4 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – to ‘ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’– International Youth Day 2019 will examine how Governments, young people and youth-led and youth-focused organizations, as well as other stakeholders, are transforming education and how these efforts are contributing to the achievement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Statistics remind us that significant transformations are still required to make education systems more inclusive and accessible: (1) Only 10% of people have completed upper secondary education in low income countries; (2) 40% of the global population is not taught in a language they speak or fully understand; and (3) Over 75% of secondary school refugees are out of school. In addition, indigenous youth, young people with disabilities, young women, young people belonging to vulnerable groups or in vulnerable situations, etc., are facing additional challenges to access education that respects their diverse needs and abilities as well as reflects and embraces their unique realities and identities.
Making education more relevant, equitable and inclusive is crucial to achieving sustainable development. Education is a ‘development multiplier’ in that it plays a pivotal role in accelerating progress across all 17 Sustainable Development Goals, be it poverty eradication, good health, gender equality, decent work and growth, reduced inequalities, actin on climate or building peaceful societies. Education should lead to effective learning outcomes, with the content of school curricula and pedagogy being fir for purpose, not only for the 4th industrial revolution and the future of work and life, but also for the opportunities and challenges that rapidly changing social contexts bring.