Strengthen Youth and Students Voices
Why is youth & student led action important to GCE?
“Education is not only about affordability, it is about social justice and human rights, it’s a matter of safeguarding the future” - ZINASU president
Covid has presented the world with a moment to pause and reflect on its ways of working and the ways in which we define normalcy. COVID 19 has more importantly shone a spotlight on the existing inequalities across our contextual realities across all regions particularly those within the developing regions of the world. Despite the diversities and nuances that underpin the lived experiences and realities of those across the developing world, Colonisation and the legacy of its impacts remains the golden thread that finds itself across all of our contextual realities and the very root cause for the historical inequalities that we face in our contemporary reality.
The legacies of colonisation have deeply embedded and embodied impacts on the lived human rights of all human beings but more specifically on black and brown womxn, youth, adolescents, students, children, indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, migrants and refugees, LGBTQI+ and those who are forced to exist within conflict situations. Repression and Resistance are two trends that have emerged throughout the COVID19 crisis in Africa particularly in relation to authoritarian rule, political violence and repression of active citizenship among human rights defenders and civil society. A similar reality is faced by students and youth in the criminalisation and repression of students, youth, teachers and human rights defenders in Latin America fighting for social justice and specifically issues and access to education.
The criminalisation and shrinking of space for youth and student led social justice organising has been seen to be on the rise during this “new normal” we find ourselves facing. Many national coalitions within the GCE membership are reporting negative effects of privatisation and public-private partnerships, especially in terms of the impact on equality and the promotion of an education consistent with human rights and the public good.
The growth of privatisation is also recognized as a human rights concern internationally. Meanwhile, students and youth are leading some of the most progressive movements all over the world fighting for quality education, fairer societies and human rights. Youth and students must be recognised as equal and active partners within the civil society movement for education. Youth involvement is key to a sustainable world and youth voices must be included as co-architects of the future. Policies will be strengthened by encouraging active participation of youth led organisations in the Global Campaign for Education and in the decision-making processes. Together we shape a better and more sustainable future for equal access to free, inclusive, public, quality education for all.
“If fundamental rights is not accessible then fundamental rights are privileges and we do not accept this” - GSF Steer Comm Member
You are invited to be part of building this critical mass of youth, adolescents and student activists who are occupying space and leading change! To become an official GCE Youth Constituency Member submit application for membership HERE (Link to membership application page)
Youth and Student Action in 2021
Since the 2015 World Assembly, significant progress has been made towards positioning and amplifying youth and student voices within the GCE movement.
In 2021, the GCE organised the following youth- and student-led events:
- A Global Partnership for Education (GPE) side event called Resistance and Resilience;
- Youth Action Month, made up of three main events: The Economics of Education, Decolonisation as Praxis, and Youth & Student Engagement Strategies;
- Linking and sharing events, opportunities for existing members to be introduced to the 15 new grantee partners selected as part of the GCE Youth & Student COVID response grant.
To date the GCE has seen a sharp increase in the amount and quality of direct engagement with youth and students from across the movement. This has been directly linked to the efforts that young people have been making in mobilising, amplifying and engaging with the GCE itself. As a secretariat and as members we have also seen a shift in the ways in which young people are being given space and supported to have their voice heard, exposed and acknowledged. The culture of cherry picking and gatekeeping has slowly been replaced with genuine and meaningful engagement. We have a long way to journey toward genuine engagement and achieving intergenerational solidarity in this fight toward equity and inclusive education systems, however the strides we have made during 2021 should be honoured as historic and transformative.
2022 GCE will usher in the year where deepening engagement and having substantive conversation including all youth and student representative structures across the movement. These conversations are set to take centre stage during the Global Student & Youth Caucus in February 2022. This will be a culmination of all groundwork between 2018 to date. This will be a space where linking, learning, sharing, solidarity building and action planning will take place. Key outcomes are the developments toward a finalised youth strategy which will set the trajectory and stance of the YE constituency for GCE. Stay tuned for more information on how to register to be a part of the Global Student & Youth Caucus.