Education International celebrates International Youth Day and joins the global trade union movement, standing together with and sending a message to the young workers of today and tomorrow, and to those who hold and exercise power within and beyond the world of work: Education is an enabling human right and a public good with the potential to transform the lives of individuals, communities and entire countries.
While the theme of the 2019 International Youth Day is ‘Transforming Education’, the global trade union movement deeply regrets that the world is completely ‘off track’ and will fail to meet sustainable development goal (SDG)4 – on quality public education – of the sustainable development agenda by the 2030 deadline.
In their statement for 12 August, International Youth Day, global trade union organisations across sectors note that “today´s generation of youth is the largest in history. Yet too often, across the world, opportunities for young people to engage politically, economically and socially are constantly limited and undermined. Globally, economic exclusion and youth unemployment remain just two of the major challenges we face.”
Youth should have the right to equitable and inclusive access to:
- Universal quality public education that is free, equitable, non-discriminatory, inclusive and accessible to all vulnerable groups, with holistic and broad curricula that include a focus on climate change, as well as lifelong learning opportunities;
- Well trained educators and quality learning environments that are free from violence and harassment, and in which educators – including young educators – are guaranteed decent working and employment conditions, including access to continuous professional development;
- Quality apprenticeships systems and programmes that comply with laws and collective agreements, provide a decent living wage and standard social protection coverage;
- Quality jobs that guarantee a decent living, good wages, work security via standard employment and access to social protections, good working conditions in safe and healthy workplaces with good work-life balance, as well as trade union representation and bargaining rights.
- Support through future of work transitions from education into the world of work, so young people equipped with the basic skills that will enable them fully and successfully participate in the fast-changing world of work;
- Democratic trade unions with sustainable institutional capacity, as well as organising, bargaining and campaigning capacity. These are fundamental to strengthening young workers’ collective power.
“Youth is the keystone to achieving sustainable societies,” stressed Education International’s General Secretary David Edwards. “Educators worldwide witness this in their daily practices, understand this and are therefore determined to make quality education for all a reality. Their unions are strongly committed to work with public authorities to ensure SDG 4 will be achieved by 2030. At our last Congress held in July, we were lucky to see many young education activists take the floor in sessions, show readiness to take responsibilities in their unions and lead in the future.”
World Teachers’ Day will also shed light on youth
In 2019, World Teachers’ Day will also celebrate and link youth and education with the theme, “Young Teachers: The future of the Profession.” October 5th provides the occasion to celebrate the teaching profession worldwide, take stock of achievements, and address some of the issues central for attracting and keeping the brightest minds and young talents in the profession.
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. This global learning crisis threatens to severely hamper progress towards the SDGs.
12 August 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.