From Education to Employment
A youth led DPI/NGO briefing was held Thursday, 7 November, titled, "Educating and Employing Youth: The Influence of Public-Private Partnerships in a Technological Era." This was a special event because the whole briefing was organized and conducted by young people and youth representatives, "youth reps," of NGO's.
The underlying question addressed was "What is an education worth under the global scourge of youth unemployment?" The scourge being defined as having 12.6% of the youth in the world unemployed, with 40% of the world's unemployed being youth.
Financial assistance, technology, and long-term development were seen as critical to promoting job availability, gender equality, and entrepreneurship.
Alex Wirth, representing the United State's National Commission for UNESCO, looks at the educational practices around the world and is an advocate for making education more relevant and engaging. He reported that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation conducted a survey to help understand the reason why the United States has 5.8 million "disconnected youths" and found that 47% of the youth interviewed did not recognize the education they had received as relevant and 81% of them suggested that education had to be "more real."
Jamira Burley, from the youth advocacy group for the SG Global Education First Initiative, initiated by Gordon Brown, the former Prime Minister of the UK and Leader of the Labour Party, spoke of how education is needed to change the trajectory and/or to create the space for youth to be change agents.
And Gretel Truang, from Global Business Coalitions for Education, told us how 20 companies have come together to help close the gap being created with 57 million kids not having access to education and 250 million kids just not learning. She spoke of how content and curriculum are changing with technology (on-line classes) and how the awareness of the importance of education is being developed through companies having access to celebrity advocates (Jay Z and Beyoncé have teamed up with Gucchi, HP, and Intel to get the message out, "it's time to change").
Ahmad Alhindawi, the Secretary General's Envoy on Youth, spoke passionately about the importance of having relevant and accessible education that teaches our youth how to think and not what to think. His focus was on partnerships of all sorts to help support our youth to "challenge the challenge" of not being able to find a job into inventing a job or of becoming entreprenuers. He called on the youth to be more proactive in creating opportunities for themselves and he called on investors to recognize our youth as our biggest asset, a driving force for a sustainable future where people are put in the center of education and markets.