June 09, 2017

Back education and a bold funding plan to get every child in school, young people tell G20 leaders

GYA Saket Mani hands petitions and call to action to Lars-Hendrik Röller, the German government's G20 Sherpa and Chancellor Merkel's economic advisor, left, and Katarina Barley, Federal Minister of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth

Ewan Watt

Online Editor, Theirworld

Global Youth Ambassador Saket Mani handed over messages from supporters and charities that urge the G20 summit to support education and a new financing mechanism.

Young people from around the world have called on the leaders of the 20 most powerful countries to back education for every child.

Saket Mani - one of Theirworld's network of Global Youth Ambassadors - delivered a powerful message to G20 nations who will meet in Germany in July.

At an international youth forum in Berlin ahead of the G20 summit, he handed over petitions supporting education that were signed by 138,000 supporters of Theirworld, ONE and Global Citizen. 

He also delivered a call to action for a bold funding plan to help get every child in school that has been supported by 29 major charities and campaigning organisations including Theirworld.

Saket told supporters: "Thank you for standing up for the rights of children everywhere to go to school. It was an honour to pass on your message and to hear that, together, we’re getting the attention of the world’s most powerful people."

The funding call to action urges the G20 summit to help establish a new International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd) that could unlock as much as $13 billion of additional funding - if the G20 countries and the World Bank get on board.

It was supported by singer and education campaigner Shakira, together with charities and organisations including Theirworld, ONE, Global Citizen, Save the Children, Avaaz, Malala Fund, Islamic Relief, VSO and World Vision.

Saket - who is from India - was a delegate this week in Berlin at the Y20 Dialogue, the official youth forum of the G20.

The youth leaders urged the G20 countries to prioritise education - especially for girls and young women - by calling on the World Bank, regional development banks and donors to establish IFFEd.

Saket said: "It’s clear that what we’re doing has got the attention of most of the G20 countries - in a good way - but if IFFEd is to be backed at the G20 summit it needs the support of every one of those countries."

The Y20 delegates were invited by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss important challenges for young people and provide youth perspective for the G20 summit.

Saket said: "I’m happy to report that the youth delegates backed our campaign too - and unanimously agreed to ask the G20 to back education and IFFEd, which we did in our official communique that we presented to Chancellor Merkel."

Girls in Nigeria take part in a Code Clubs lesson where girls learn about technology, supported by Theirworld. The Y20 said more must be done to help girls and women into STEM subjects

Photo credit: Theirworld

That "proposition paper" summarised their thinking on a range of subjects from the environment and global trade to gender pay gaps and cyber security.

As well as backing IFFEd, the Y20 paper highlighted the need for young people to acquire the relevant skills needed in an increasingly digital world.

It said: "As technology plays a more pervasive part in our lives, we need effective and relevant digital education that encompasses formal schooling and real-world experience.

"Current and future generations stand to benefit greatly from investments in digital education and literacy, in particular for lifelong learning, and we call on the G20 nations to make this a key priority."

The Y20 Dialogue delegates gathered in Berlin

Photo credit: Facebook / Y20 Germany

The paper said 85% of youth live in developing countries and a quarter are not in education, training or work.

It said programmes had to be established for vulnerable and less digitally literate groups such as young women, rural, disabled and illiterate populations.

The Y20 said girls and women are particularly at risk of missing out on job opportunities in STEM (scientific, technological, engineering and and mathematics) fields.

It said IFFEd would help to tackle this - along with STEM scholarships and programmes from high school to university and incentivising female entry-level programmes focusing on STEM.

The Y20 also said refugees should have the right to quality and inclusive education and that language education should be provided during the asylum process.

On disabilities, it called on the G20 to affirm the right to education without discrimination on the basis of equal opportunities and inclusive and accessible education systems.

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