Amid the education crisis exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nations is partnering with leading children’s charity Theirworld and others in the sector, to launch the #LetMeLearn campaign, urging world leaders to listen to the voices of young people and put in place the plans and finance required to provide a quality education for every child.
“Across the globe, education is in crisis”, warned Secretary-General António Guterres, noting that the crisis in classrooms was “slow burning and often unseen” but with “profound consequences for individuals, societies, and our collective future.”
Still missing out
Reeling from the disruption caused by the pandemic, hundreds of millions of children and young people are still out of school. Many of those who are in school are not learning the basic skills they need, as citizens and participants in society.
Many more are questioning the relevance of their education systems and curricula for today’s world.
A global survey, commissioned by Theirworld, shows more than two-thirds of youth polled feel that leaders are betraying their promise to provide quality education.
The launch of the #LetMeLearn campaign is intended to build the momentum towards the Transforming Education Summit the Secretary-General will convene on 19 September to set out a new vision for education that equips learners of all ages and backgrounds with the skills, knowledge and values they need to thrive.
World leaders will decide what action needs to be taken to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 (quality education).
Need for national leadership
The UN chief said the campaign was “to make sure world leaders attending the summit pay attention to the voices and opinions of learners. Through this campaign, the diverse experiences and views of young people and lifelong learners everywhere will feed into the discussions, decisions and outcomes of the summit.”
Gordon Brown, the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, describes the historic summit as “global education’s COP26 moment – a last chance for action to avert an education catastrophe” for a generation of young people directly impacted by the pandemic, the climate crisis, conflicts and many other challenges.
Crisis of ‘quality and relevance’: Theirworld
The President of Theirworld, Justin van Fleet, said that the decisions that will be made by global leaders next month at the Transforming Education Summit, “will affect the lives of hundreds of millions of children around the world, and reverberate through every community on the planet.”
“Global education is facing a crisis of equity, quality and relevance. Currently, education is a privilege, not a right, and denied to children ased on factors beyond their control at birth”, he said.
“It’s time for world leaders to listen to young people and take action today. Time is running out and inaction is not an option.”
Organizations and individuals can take part in the campaign by creating and sharing short videos in the coming weeks.