Across the world, young people are faced with inequalities in education. Yet, they are also key actors in the transformation of education that we are calling for.

Their ideas and innovative spirit need to be heard in order to reach our common goas inscribed in Agenda  2030,  which  is  our  greatest  opportunity  to  build  more  inclusive  and  fair  societies. Education is the heart of UNESCO’s action towards a world where quality education is available for everyone, leaving no one behind.

Education is not only about getting a diploma – it is about learning, building systems enabling young women and men to acquire   new   skills   and   qualifications,   and   to   contribute   meaningfully   to   the   advancement of societies. This is why transforming education is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. On the occasion of the International Youth Day, UNESCO steps up and calls for an education which is more inclusive and accessible for all young people, in all corners  of  the  world. 

We  must  thus  minimize  barriers  to  learning  and ensure  the  inclusion of all learners in education. Youth must be fully on board in reshaping an education that is for them and belongs to them.  If  we  fail  to  include  the  views  of  young  women,  men,  members  of  the  LGBTQ+  community, indigenous youth, youth with disabilities or young migrants to our way of building  education  systems,  we  are  all  losing  something  valuable;  the  richness  of  understanding  different  cultures  and  minds,  the  treasure  of  learning  from  one  another.

Today, UNESCO is working with young people as pro-active contributors and not just beneficiaries  in  its  programmes  and  projects.  Young  people  are  highly  engaged  in  our work in reducing inequalities and building peaceful societies through our Youth Space  Initiative,  Youth  Climate  Action  Network  and  Preventing  Violent  Extremism  Project, only to name a few.

We are making special efforts at promoting plans that are responsive to gender and disability as well as crisis-sensitive, including by taking into account the special situation of refugees and forcibly displaced persons. We are conducting  trainings  for  youth  capacity  development  for  the  creation  of  innovative  futures. Let us revive our collective commitment to ensure that education systems around the world not only eliminate all forms of discrimination, but also allow youth to be agents of change, so that, as Rumi said, “they are not a drop in the ocean, but they are the entire ocean in a drop.”

Learn more about the World Heritage Education Programme here: