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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Make Education More Equitable & Inclusive, Says UN Launching International Youth Day 2019

Riyaz Patel

More than half of all the world’s children and adolescents aged 6-14 lack basic reading and maths skills, the UN said as it launched International Youth Day 2019 under the theme, “Transforming Education.”

The theme highlights efforts to make education more inclusive and accessible for all youth, including efforts by youth themselves.

“There are currently 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24 in the world. This is the largest youth population ever. However, more than half of all children and adolescents aged 6-14 lack basic reading and maths skills, despite the fact that the majority of them are attending school, the UN said.

This global learning crisis threatens to severely hamper progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), the UN warned.

2019 Theme: “Transforming education”

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 so that it becomes a powerful tool to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The UN says further that inclusive and accessible education is crucial to achieving sustainable development, and can play a role in the prevention of conflict.

Education is a ‘development multiplier’ as 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, action on climate or peaceful societies.

Education should lead to relevant and effective learning outcomes, with the content of school curricula being fit for purpose, not only for the 4th industrial revolution and the future of work, but also for the opportunities – and challenges – that rapidly changing social contexts bring.

Learners at Benoni Junior School on Mandela Day

The crucial role that quality education plays in youth development is well recognized as well as benefiting society-at-large.

However, what is less known is the fact that young people themselves are active champions of inclusive and accessible education. 


Youth-led organizations, as well as individual youth, together with various stakeholders and Governments, are concretely transforming education so that it becomes a fundamental tool both for sustainable development and for the full inclusion of various social groups.

Youth-led organizations are transforming education via lobbying and advocacy, partnerships with educational institutions and the development of complementary training programs.

August 12 was first designated International Youth Day by the UN General Assembly in 1999, and serves as an annual celebration of the role of young women and men as essential partners in change, and an opportunity to raise awareness of challenges and problems facing the world’s youth.

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