IIEP Policy Forum – Paris, 16-18 October 2012 

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Why this Policy Forum?

Education systems often fail to prepare young people adequately to participate in decision-making. They do not develop the necessary analytical skills for critical thinking or problem-solving through participatory, active learning. In some cases young people are given the opportunity to participate in decision-making without ensuring that they receive adequate training or access to the appropriate information that would enable them to make informed decisions (SPW/DFID-CSO, 2010)

Despite considerable progress, many countries are not on target to meet the six Education for All goals by 2015. Education and training systems in many countries are failing in their mandate to provide quality education that is both universally accessible and relevant to youth in their new and changing environments. Consequently, many young people have become disenfranchised with their education systems.

Youth are far from defeated, however, as many have become informal yet active participants in the creative learning and educational planning process. There is growing recognition amongst global and national institutions that young people are key partners in ensuring continued progress.


The objective of the Policy Forum was to strengthen the dialogue between young people, policy-makers, practitioners, and researchers to promote meaningful youth engagement within different levels of formal and non-formal education and training sectors.

Specifically, this Policy Forum was:

  • examining contemporary policy, practice, and research initiatives on youth engagement within education policy-making and programming in different countries and across different contexts;
  • providing a space for youth, policy-makers, practitioners, and researchers to engage in dialogue on how youth could be active partners in planning their education;
  • identifying promising strategies to help policy-makers plan for and promote meaningful youth engagement in education and training settings.
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