Diana Ayala’s Speech at the 7th GCE World Assembly
Hello everyone, as mentioned my name is Diana Ayala from Honduras, a member of the GCE YAG representing my national coalition Foro Dakar Honduras and very proud to represent the youth of my Latin American coalition CLADE and last but not least our GPE Youth Leader Group.
Welcome to the GCE World Assembly, welcome to this very important moment of connecting, learning, progress and more. Grateful with life for the opportunity to be today here after a very hard time of losses and grieve for many people due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Future of Education Re-Imagined” that is the name of this assembly and as a youth activist I believe that we need to also actively share our thoughts about education re-imagined, what is it what we want to see? And also, how to achieve this? I could mention many things but all of them come to one-point, Active Participation in spaces. In march of this present year, we had the incredible opportunity with GCE to travel to Tanzania, a group of __ youth and students from different regions and spaces with the purpose of working together to build a group of education advocates, a group of youth and students within the GCE space working towards specific objectives.
As GCE grows and strengthens its youth and student engagement, it has become increasingly imperative to create spaces and platforms for youth and students to build bridges of solidarity and capacity across the membership - GCE Youth and Student Caucus 2022 Report.
The context of youth and students has been limited for so many years in spaces of decision and creation of policies, and adding to that the pandemic has left even more equity barriers, showing that the education systems specifically in the lowest income countries were not ready to attend the needs of the most marginalized students, that teachers were not completely prepared to switch to a digital learning, that rural areas are continuing to be excluded, that we don’t have plans and responses for the children that have a disability and the opportunities of work for youth are very limited, that privatization of higher education is a barrier for many.
Young people and students are often seen as apathetic, frustrated, and disenchanted. When they do organize, their work is devalued because they are thought of as inexperienced, troubled, and at-risk for being derailed from responsible adulthood – Analysis of the Impact of COVID-19 on youth and Student in Advocacy Spaces Report 2022
With all of these issues mentioned as youth activist what I can say is, no, these are not limit for us, this does not define our future, the future we want, or the education re-imagined. But of course, we want the opportunities in spaces, we want our voices heard when policies are made and when budgets are built. Students are the priorization in education nevertheless how many times student committees are called to actively participate in the creation of laws that are supposed to benefit the education sector? Or how many times the needs are actually coming from within schools, from within the heart of education. Today is the moment to advocate for these spaces, it is also the time for youth and students to understand this role, and as I´ve mentioned before we do not need to represent our personal interest but the voices of all and work together with solidarity to address the issues that we see every day, if we understand solidarity, we have understood everything.
I think GCE has been clear of the importance of seeing youth as equals and active partners, including our voices, having decision making seats, collaborating in different youth initiatives, growing the collective voices, also and very important the creation of reports and strategies that give a actual and updated context of the realities of students and youth, which is very specific for us since we do not have a lot of research and studies or reports about youth participation.
GCE has given us the opportunity to build capacities and knowledge as well as collaborating with resources in order to achieve specific goals within our constituencies to one, structure our students’ structures, 2 to include even more students and youth specifically the ones that are left behind and third to actually give us the opportunity to actually have a space for us.
I would love to see more Latin American students and youth involved in the movement and I am sure that with the different support that GCE is providing we will achieve that goal. Latin America also has a lot to offer and we will continue here, we are not going anywhere we are here to stay and demand the free public and quality education for all, that is what we see in education re-imagined, inclusive spaces for all, equal and fair opportunities for girls, not only to enter school but to continue and finish school, having the people with disabilities attended and having more democratic spaces and last recognising the need of investing in education.