In 1999, the United Nations General Assembly designated August 12 as International Youth Day, an annual celebration that seeks to promote the role of youth as essential partners in change processes and create a space to raise awareness about the challenges and problems they face.
This year’s theme highlights the efforts being made in general to achieve a more inclusive and accessible education for all young people and, in particular, the efforts of the young people themselves. This year, International Youth Day emphasizes the Objetive number 4 among the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: “guaranteeing inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all”. This examines how governments, youth and youth-led organizations, as well as other stakeholders, are transforming education to become a powerful tool to deliver on the 2030 Agenda.
Inclusive and accessible education is crucial to achieve sustainable development and can also play a key role in conflict prevention. Education is, therefore, a factor that enhances development, since it is essential to accelerate progress towards the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, from poverty eradication, to health, gender equality, decent work and economic growth, the reduction of inequalities, action by the climate or peaceful societies. Education must lead to relevant and effective learning outcomes, with adequate content of school curricula, not only to adapt to the so-called “fourth industrial revolution” and the future of work, but also to respond to opportunities and challenges that the new and changing social contexts bring.
Recognition of this crucial role of quality education in youth development is widely recognized, as is the fact that comprehensive youth development benefits the entire society. However, what goes unnoticed is that young people themselves are the most active advocates of inclusive and accessible education. Youth-led organizations, as well as young men and women in their personal capacity, together with other stakeholders and governments, work to transform education into that fundamental tool both for sustainable development and for the full inclusion of various social groups. An example of this are youth-led organizations that are transforming education through advocacy, partnerships with educational institutions, and the development of complementary training programs.