I am young and I want to go far
And here I am stifled by world conflicts and crisis, by the lack of school infrastructure, by an education system that undermines my aspirations
I am a girl and I am ambitious
And each morning, I must face stereotypes that break my fragile wings despite their yearning for flying
I am young and I want to build a future
But my physical and psychological disabilities are being ignored
Together, these young people have joined forces to ask that a promising horizon be offered to them
Education systems should tackle gender inequality
- We recommend that governments invest in gender transformative teacher training and pedagogies, including ensuring comprehensive sexuality education is part of the curriculum.
- We call on the private sector to invest in technological and vocational training for skills development specifically for girls and young women.
Education systems should include youth participation mechanisms
- We call on government at all levels to include youth in decision-making on national education strategies and budgets. This includes establishing cross-ministry youth committees to consult on budgetary decisions.
- We call on governments to lower the age that parliamentarians can run to 18 years old.
- We urge all donors who are providing funding for education to ensure youth have been consulted by the leaders of developing countries.
- We also call on the Global Partnership for Education, Plan International, UNICEF and others to amplify the voices of youth coalitions through advocacy and by providing funding.
Education in emergencies should be part of the first response
- We recommend that all UN Member States champion a resolution to give new status to teachers as protected first responders and ensure safe zones to provide quality, inclusive and gender transformative education.
- We recommend GPE partners to transfer the EducationCannotWait Fund to GPE and strengthen it as an independent fund.
Education should be more inclusive
- We ask all governments to develop education strategies that address the needs of young marginalised groups, including refugees and asylum seekers, persons with disabilities and adolescent girls. Where these plans exist, they must be implemented. They must also include teacher training that is inclusive and non-discriminatory (e.g. training on sign language, braille etc.)
- We ask all governments to increase their financial commitments to education by at least 20%, with a fixed percentage dedicated to young marginalized groups, especially persons with disabilities.
- We call on all governments, international organizations and UN agencies, in consultation with young marginalized groups, to develop indicators that measure the inclusivity in education.
Education should create more economic opportunities for young people
- For education to be fit for purpose, we call on governments to increase their national budget through progressive tax systems. The recommended 20% will only make an impact if the overall budget is increased.
- We call on governments to develop education curriculums that reflect the job market, providing more practical and relevant skills training
- We ask private stakeholders to create more employment and training opportunities for young people
Youth are not simply beneficiaries of education. We are partners in creating a better world. Youth do not need to be given a voice. We already have one. What we need is the platform of education for which our voices can be heard.
As youth, we will continue to advocate, to support each stakeholder in achieving these recommendations and upholding these values of inclusivity, gender equality and non-discrimination.
Now it’s your turn.
We call on President Macky Sall and President Macron to sign and commit to our declaration and encourage other heads of state at the next United National General Assembly and other regional bodies for their commitment.