GPE youth leaders drafted their priorities for education in consultation with their networks. The top 10 priorities for the future are targeted at government leaders, the private sector, civil society organizations, international development partners and other education stakeholders.
Dear World Leaders,
We are here to demand equitable access to quality education to transform every young person’s life. In our lifetime, we have seen crises from conflict, wars, climate change, and COVID-19. Some of us have been lucky enough to learn through these crises while some of us, especially in the Global South, have had to give up on our dreams of education.
We have experienced the transformative power of education and we do not want any young person left behind. This statement echoes the Youth Declaration at the Transforming Education Summit and the conversations at the UN SDG Summit. Ahead of the African Union Year of Education, we are using the GPE Youth Leaders’ Futures Livestream to remind you of our 10 priorities for the future.
We know you can do better.
We urge government leaders, the private sector, civil society organizations, international development partners and other education stakeholders to:
- Fund education
- Don’t let school children go hungry
- Build education systems that promote climate justice
- Make education inclusive and accessible for all
- Put gender at the center
- Don’t let crises stop learning
- Prioritize our well-being
- Decolonize education
- Prepare us for the digital future of work
- Ensure meaningful youth participation and engagement
We call for a fundamental change in the way funding for education is approached. Aid for education cannot be seen as a handout to be provided when times are good and withdrawn when other priorities arise. It is a non-negotiable investment into our collective prosperity and futures. National education budgets must be safeguarded and increased during and after domestic and global crises. Financing for education should be sustainable, flexible, accessible, data-driven, innovative, domestic, and multi-sectoral. Donors must protect ODA financing, spend it where the need is greatest, and increase the proportion allocated to education to between 10-15% of ODA.
We demand that you respond proactively to the food crisis and prioritize school meals and comprehensive nutrition education in school curricula. We urge that you sign and define your national commitments to ensure universal access to nutritious school meals for all children.
As Youth, we recognize that our future is inextricably linked to the health of our planet. We want to see climate smart education systems that can adapt to the realities of climate change and ensure uninterrupted access to quality learning despite climate events such as droughts and floods. We demand education systems incorporate indigenous knowledge and climate education resources that promote green skills and resilience for young people.
We demand decision-makers prioritize the inclusion of people with disabilities in the education system without discrimination. We need accessible schools and learning resources, and establish inclusive practices within classrooms from the early years of schooling to celebrate diversity and certify teachers as inclusive education professionals.
We want you to invest in safe, resilient, gender-transformative education systems. Ensure the full and inclusive participation of girls and boys —in all our diversity in education systems that capture our unique needs. Make sure ending violence in schools is at the heart of national education systems and policies, including the gendered dimensions of such violence. And provide comprehensive sexuality education to all.
We urge world leaders to ensure that refugee hosting and fragile countries have clear pathways for continuous learning for refugees and internally displaced youth. Interruptions in young people’s education can disrupt our chances of ever completing school.
We demand the mainstreaming of mental health services into education, so that students and teachers can identify support services.Support children and young people at risk of never attending or dropping out of school, especially the most marginalized including: girls and young women, refugee and displaced youth, young persons with disabilities, indigenous youth, at-risk boys, and gender minorities.
We demand that you decolonize education. Education systems should reflect the views, history and essence of indigenous populations in curriculum development, teaching practices and community engagement.
We want our schools to prepare us to think critically, communicate effectively, collaborate with diverse peers, solve complex problems, adopt a sustainable and global mindset, and engage with information and communications technologies.
We unite with a shared voice and unwavering determination as Youth to demand the prioritization and involvement of youth in the policies and initiatives taken by decision-makers. We call for youth representation in governance systems, mentorship opportunities, flexible funding of youth initiatives, and financial resources to support youth participation in decision-making.