More than 250 participants convened at UNESCO for the Policy Forum. The event provided a unique opportunity for young people, policy-makers, academics, and practitioners to build dialogue and explore ways of ensuring that education systems are more responsive to young people’s educational, social, cultural, and professional needs. In particular, participants had the opportunity to discuss with senior experts and high-level decision-makers issues related to youth engagement in planning education for conflict transformation and peace building, civic engagement, and the transition to employment.
Participants agreed on the importance of cross-department policy, planning and coordination to ensure education and training policies are better linked to employment, youth, and national development policies; and on the need to develop educational programming to promote inclusive citizenship, intergenerational partnerships, and critical thinking skills. Other key recommendations of the Policy Forum concerned the need to put greater emphasis on youth civic engagement in formal and non-formal education settings, and to recognize the importance of non-formal education, in general.
Building on these recommendations, the Forum ended with a productive discussion between young people and ministers, during which commitments were made to promote meaningful youth engagement in education and training settings. Dr Cirino H. Ofuho, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports in the Republic of South Sudan, committed to request the new country’s parliament to contribute $1–2 per barrel of oil produced towards youth activities. Dr Shukuru J. Kawambwa, Minister of Education and Vocational Training in Tanzania, committed to involving youth organizations in the development of his country’s forthcoming education policy.
Only the start, not the end
All the recommendations and commitments coming out of this three-day event will be compiled and disseminated in a forthcoming Agenda for Action. In the coming weeks, organizers of the Policy Forum – together with stakeholders, including youth – will draft a full report to determine the next steps to effectively and operationally engage youth in planning education for social transformation.
In the meantime, the debate is not over: the online discussion forum is still open for your views and comments, including on the presentations made during the event. The forum page will be regularly updated with new topics to stimulate the debate. Don’t miss the opportunity to have your say!