Last week, we had the honor of moderating the “Futures Festival: Raise Your Hand,” a youth-led livestream on education financing.
The event was an important milestone on the road to the Global Education Summit: Financing GPE 2021-2025. It spotlighted young people who are taking the lead in calling for financing to education. It also included high profile UN and governmental speakers who engaged with national, regional and global youth networks from across the world.
The main takeaway? Now, more than ever, government leaders must be ambitious and bold in their investments in education. 96% of youth participating in the Futures Festival said they think that COVID will have an impact on their country’s education system long-term.
Financing education is a priority
This is why, as we look towards building a better world after the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential that issues such as education inequality, exacerbated during the pandemic, are addressed.
As a number of lower-income countries have cut their public education budgets since the onset of the pandemic, young people also called on their leaders to protect education in national budgets and ensure that public financing for education is spent as efficiently as possible and reaches the most marginalized.
Let us summarize the top 3 reasons why education should be one of the top priorities for leaders, and why ambitious investments in GPE are essential.
1. Education can be a solution to other global challenges
Vanessa Nakate, a Fridays for Future activist from Uganda and founder of the Rise Up movement, spoke about universal education and family planning as a solution to the climate crisis, as it helps reduce inequality and carbon emissions. She has been advocating for education as a means of achieving climate justice.
In addition, Malala Fund’s new report on highlights how increasing gender equality through investments in education will lead to better climate adaptation efforts. Education can make climate action stronger, and more equitable, while also improving mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and increasing climate resilience in societies and communities.
2. A fully-funded GPE will ensure that no child is left behind
GPE youth leaders Maryjacob, Iyunoluwa, Ayesha, Maria and Diana called for more and better domestic financing to education and for commitments from donors to fully fund GPE.
UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed agreed, and called on youth to ‘keep pushing, make your voices heard, engage directly with those in power’ and called participants to ‘raise our hands so that the financing of education remains the priority it needs to be to ensure no child is left behind.’