Today the world is younger than it has ever been. We have around 1.8 billion young people aged between, 12 to 24 and it’s the largest youth group the world has ever seen. Today’s youths are tomorrow’s leaders and their leadership and participation is extremely important to create positive change in this world. Realizing the importance of young people, United Nations passed a revolution in 1999 to mark August 12 as an International Youth Day. The themes of International Youth Days are connected with UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Each year this day is celebrated as a small step towards adhering the SDGs. Similarly, this year the theme intends in making education more inclusive and accessible to all youths, a step towards adhering Goal number 4: Quality Education, which focuses on ensuring quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities to all.
International Youth Day 2019: Transforming education:
“With guns you can kill terrorists, with education you can kill terrorism”, Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Prize winner 2014
There is no doubt that education is key and the basis of all other development. When we are celebrating another International Youth Day, still 262 million children and young people aged 6 to 17 are deprived of attending school. Though, transforming education is regarded as giving providing formal and non formal education on sexuality, climate change, peace and security, environmental changes, civil and police participation, in developing countries like Nepal, where there is a huge gap in providing quality education, the access to free education, 2019’s vision looks overwhelming. Here the main challenge for us still remains providing children with quality education where lack of schools, textbooks, and teachers are the major concerns.
The theme, ‘Transforming Education’ also intends in empowering youths at its fullest and going beyond the traditional confined learning methodology. With increasing environmental and social political concerns, a lot is expected from the youth. With expectations comes responsibilities and for youths to be competent enough to fulfill their responsibilities transformation in education and learning process is must. Though the theme is the same around the world, challenges among countries differ. Developed countries might face challenges in updating curriculum, including non formal teaching methodologies while establishing schools in rural areas and providing enough text books and teachers remain the key challenges for developing nations.
Nepalese context and Role of youth organization:
Education in Nepal is still confined to rote learning, under-revised syllabus and limited learning opportunities. With government’s key focus still in establishing schools and appointment of teachers, inclusion of sexual, social and environmental education in the curriculum often goes unnoticed. Government led by communist ideology mentions discouraging private investment in schools and the concept of changing private educational institutions into public in the near future. Though this might help to overcome the disparities between students studying across the nation, quality of education remains the key concern.
Another problem we are facing is youth unemployment and underemployment. Limited opportunities in government sectors and large number of graduates makes it highly difficult to seek jobs and due to this, large section of youths are either unemployed or underemployed. With education transformation, work areas should also be adequately developed to provide employment opportunities to all youths. Here, youth organizations play a vital role in transformation of youths. They give a good platform to tender youths to grow and develop their leadership skills. Youth organization motivates young people to follow their passion and promote experiential learning. Furthermore, when alike minds work together innovative ideas are developed as they have a new way of creating a vision.
Hopefully, when young people in alignment and support of government agencies, participate themselves in the process of transforming education, in coming year’s education can be more inclusive and accessible to all youths across the world and there would be equal opportunities for all.
-Yagyadi Acharya, Member, ‘We’ for Change