Youth Declaration on Transforming Education

TES team
TES team • 16 September 2022

What is the Youth Declaration?

The Transforming Education Summit is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to come together to drive a new pathway for education by listening to and working with young people, answering the call of the Our Common Agenda report - an agenda of action designed to accelerate the implementation of existing agreements, including the Sustainable Development Goals.

With that in mind, young people are leading an inclusive and representative process to gather their collective views, recommendations and commitments on transforming education, captured in the Youth Declaration.

The Youth Declaration (available in Arabic, ChineseEnglish, French, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese) is presented as young people’s inputs to the Transforming Education Summit Chair Summary/Secretary-General’s Vision Statement. Its aim is to drive political commitment on the need to transform education and build young people’s ownership over this process.

How was the Youth Declaration drafted?

This youth-led process has been coordinated by the Office of the Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth together with the Summit Secretariat alongside many partners. First, three global consultations for the Youth Declaration were held between June and August 2022, with the first one taking place on the sidelines of the Transforming Education Pre-Summit in Paris and the second and third happening virtually in July and August, respectively. In the last consultation alone, held on 12 August, International Youth Day, 925 young people joined the conversation and shared their inputs.

Simultaneously, young people self-organized around grassroots consultations, to gather the views, recommendations, and commitments on transforming education from their peers at local level. Over 15 grassroots consultations were organized, connecting over 500 young people globally, and the outcomes were submitted to contribute to the Youth Declaration process.

In addition to direct in-person and online consultations, young people have contributed through social media, an online survey led by the World Largest Lesson, the U-Report Poll led by UNICEF, written inputs, and through past consultations, all of which have been fed into the Youth Declaration.

In total, an estimated 450,000 young people worldwide have made contributions to the process. 

Read more about the process.

Key Takeaways from the Youth Declaration

The Youth Declaration process has clearly highlighted young people’s collective sense of urgency 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.

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.

Hence, an overarching key message from the Youth Declaration process is young people’s call to be meaningfully engaged as full-fledged partners, and not only beneficiaries, in education policy and decision-making, working alongside their governments, teachers, civil society, international organizations, the United Nations, and others on transforming education.

Solidarity is another overarching principle that has emerged during the Youth Declaration process—across and within generations, genders, nations, cultures, faiths, abilities, and more. Young people recognize that not all are affected in the same degree by the education crisis and other challenges and therefore call for the most vulnerable and marginalized groups, including but not limited to young women and girls, LGBTIQ+ youth, indigenous youth, refugees and migrants, and young persons with disabilities, to be at the forefront of all action.

The youth recognize that this intersectional and inclusive approach can ensure true positive transformational change for all people and the planet, leaving no one behind.

What happens next?

The follow-up to the Youth Declaration will be ensured through the SDG4-High Level Steering Committee, as the main body to take the recommendations, commitments, and outcomes of the Transforming Education Summit forward. The youth representatives from the SDG4Youth network in this body will have a key role, and will champion an action plan to take the Youth Declaration forward.

It is imperative that the outcomes of the ‘Youth Declaration’ as young people’s collective views, recommendations, and commitments on transforming education be taken into account. This includes in the implementation of policies and programmes resulting from the national consultations, towards positive transformational change in education and education systems at all levels, with youth as active and equal partners.

Introducing the Youth Declaration: Jayathma Wickramanayake, Doris Mwikali, Sofia Bermudez

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UN Youth Envoy message 

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Youth Declaration Process 

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The Youth Declaration on Transforming Education is not just words on paper, it is the future and part of #LeadingSDG4

"We, the youth of the world" read the Youth Declaration below 👇 & spread the word through the assets on the Trello board

Youth 4.1 Universal primary and secondary education 4.2 Early childhood development and universal pre-primary education 4.3 Equal access to technical/vocational and higher education 4.4 Relevant skills for decent work 4.5 Gender equality and inclusion 4.6 Universal youth literacy 4.7 Education for sustainable development and global citizenship Statement Global