By Alice Mukashyaka and Thaís Queiroz, Next Generation Fellows for Transforming Education
This is a day to celebrate the importance of education in everyone’s life. 2023 marks the fifth International Day of Education under the theme “to invest in people, prioritize education”.
Our education systems are struggling to deliver high-quality and relevant education, and this isn’t a new problem.
The COVID-19 crisis dealt a massive blow to the education of children and youth worldwide, reversing decades of hard-won progress and undermining many countries’ efforts towards SDG 4.
Even before the pandemic, over 260 million children were out of school, and half of all 10-year-olds could not read a basic text. That proportion could now increase to 70%, and an additional 24 million children may drop out of school entirely.
Last year, global leaders turned their attention back to education. The Transforming Education Summit was an important political moment to address the global education crisis and other simultaneous and interconnected global challenges, like the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, growing inequality, conflict, and more. It was with a collective sense of urgency that 130 countries committed to prioritizing education, with nearly half of the countries prioritizing measures to address learning loss.
This sense of urgency is also demonstrated by several young people from around the world who dedicate their lives to achieving the transformations they would like to see in education. As stated in the Summit’s Youth Declaration, young people recognize their key role as active agents of positive change in addressing these crises and ensuring true transformational change—one that is systemic, long-term, inclusive, and representative.
In the lead-up to the Summit, a group of young people came together to give and seek support in participating meaningfully in these transformations in their countries.
One of these young people is Mahendra Phagwah, from Guyana, South America, who is working together with the Ministry of Education in Guyana to secure the School Meal Programs for all schools in Guyana. Such programs are essential to support young people and children to attend school and have a meaningful learning experience.
Another young person dedicating time to the education of young people is the Singer and Songwriter Kristina Lachaga. Kristina, a Girl Scouts Lifetime Member and USA Girl Scouts Overseas Program Partner, hosts virtual events and programs for Girl Scouts and Girl Guides ages 5-18+ around the world.
As part of non-formal educational programming, Kristina’s work supports young girls in developing their full potential, including learning essential life skills and engaging in all aspects of life including character, social, physical, spiritual, intellectual, and emotional development. The events and programs also serve as virtual International experiences for the girls, introducing them to different countries and cultures and allowing them to create International friendships and bonds to last a lifetime.
These are just some examples among millions of young people, teachers, social workers, and volunteers who are contributing daily to transform the world through education.
On this International Day of Education, take some time to think of a contribution you can make to transform education, to work with your government or to support those around you who are contributing to the cause!
Want to collaborate with us and other young leaders to help design the future of education? You can get involved with our Transforming Education Action Group at this year’s Big Brainstorm. Find out more here…