Young people in DRC stand #UpForSchool at petition launch

Up for School or #upforschool campaign

Hundreds of young people joined the prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo and leading United Nations figures at the country’s launch of the #UpForSchool Petition.

More than 20,000 Congolese youth have already signed the petition and youth ambassadors in DRC plan to collect one million signatures. Of the 58 million children denied their right to education around the world, 3.5 million of them are in the central African country.

The event at the University of Kinshasa was organised by A World at School and partners including UNICEF and UNESCO as part of a joint UN mission by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and and UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown, focusing on the importance of accelerated progress on education for children of the DRC. Also attending were HE Augustin Matata Ponyo, Prime Minister of the DRC, and HE Maker Famba Mwangu, Minister for Primary, Secondary and Citizenship Education.

Clareine Nzeza, a DRC Global Youth Ambassador for A World at School, said: “Education gives young people a future and a hope. We are coming together to stand up for school alongside young people around the world. Today we have handed in more than 20,000 signatures from young people wanting to make their voices heard. Our goal is to collect at least one million signatures from the DRC for the #UpForSchool Petition.”

The petition calls on world leaders to keep a promise made in 2000 that all children would be in school and learning by the end of 2015. Led by A World at School, the #UpForSchool campaign is a unique global coalition of young people, NGOs, civil society, teachers, faith-based organisations and more than 100 of the world’s leading businesses – all demanding action on education.

Ben Hewitt, Director of Campaigns at A World at School, was at the Kinshasa event. He said: “Young people around the world have launched the #UpForSchool Petition to get every child in to school, no matter who they are or where they are born. Every child has the right to go to school and it is exciting to see so much support for the campaign from young people in DRC.”

Prime Minister Matata said: “Education is crucial for the country, it gives every child a better future. Young people across the DRC want to be in school and learning. We are working together to get every child in to school, no matter where they are born. We need quality schools and teachers in every community. Together we are #UpForSchool.”

Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo, watched by Gordon Brown

Mr Brown said: “Investment in education in the DRC has doubled between 2010 and 2012 but there are still challenges ahead. We urge all stakeholders – from the donor nations to the business community – to heed this call and keep education up front and centre on national and international agendas. This means working ever more closely with the governments of the region – along with parents, teachers, young people and the private sector.

“It also means ensuring that aid levels for education are maintained. Yet, since 2010, aid to education has fallen by 10%. This trend needs to be turned around. Every child has the right to go to school without danger or without discrimination.  It is the responsibility of all of us to make sure that happens.”

Ms Bokova said: “The Democratic Republic of Congo has suffered one of the region’s deadliest and enduring conflicts. The education system is undergoing a major overhaul; school fees are being abolished, new classrooms are being built, more teachers trained, education planning and school management improved and syllabuses made more relevant.

“Such determined effort and commitment must be acknowledged and supported. I am excited to be joining the young people of the DRC in standing #UpForSchool.”

You can make your voice heard and sign the #UpForSchool Petition now.

More news

See all news