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null Giving a platform to young people: Youth Forum inspires intergenerational listening and real-life solutions

Giving a platform to young people, key stakeholders in the future of our world, was an important part of the recent conference on the theme: Building New Bridges Together: Ethics and Values at the Heart of Education, held from 17 to 19 October 2022. A Youth Forum took place on the first day of the conference, Monday 17, inviting young people to express their voices regarding current educational barriers and present solutions to overcome the problems that the globe is facing on both a national and international level.

The Youth Forum was well attended by local students representing diverse nations and interests, and was run by Lani M. Ayana Jiménez, a Peace and Development Consultant, and Vilda Azwar, National Officer for Indonesia. The pre-conference event highlighted the importance of education being accessible to all individuals as a human right, as knowledge is power and power leads to the opportunity to contribute to society in a meaningful way. By providing this open space for young people's voices to be heard, facilitated conference participants to "listen to each other across generations", in the words of Obiora Ike, Executive Director.

The critical questions addressed in this seminar, including the modernisation requirements to make education relevant and influential within the digital world, included:

What problems do you see in your higher education institutions to be improved? What changes do we wish to see? What's needed to make the desired changes? How can you, as a youth, contribute to solutions?

Youths attending the event collaborated in small teams to discuss these questions and create posters to present their solutions. These posters (shown throughout article) exhibit some interesting solutions which were developed to mitigate the disparities across education and promote solutions. Groups presented their findings to the rest of the Youth Forum and the posters were kept on display during the rest of the conference for participants to find inspiration in their ideas.

Several problems with the current quality of education which were highlighted included:

  • Accessibility to quality education, such as access to books and computers, and barriers for the underprivileged who cannot afford education
  • Lack of mentorship provided to support students
  • Lack of tools offered to teachers to be able to support students correctly
  • Focus on passing exams rather than integrating learning the content effectively
  • Lack of interactivity with students to facilitate effective learning
  • Need for revision of curriculum 
  • Abuse of power in educational institutions

To overcome these current educational barriers, the youths provided many solutions to these problems, such as:

  • Modernisation of the current educational curriculum to prepare students for real-life work environment situations and develop relevant skills
  • Utilise technology to enhance learning
  • Provide different types of learning methods to assist different learning styles
  • Teachers and parents encourage creative and critical thinking
  • Providing the opportunity for students to challenge the status quo
  • Encouraging students to be active in learning and for teachers to respect student's voices and opinions

This fruitful session not only allowed for intergenerational discussion on the educational system, but also provided the opportunity for young people to create and present real-life solutions to enhance the quality of education and, consequently, the future contribution students can provide to society. Knowledge is power, and power can help change education for the better.

Read the official conference Communiqué to learn more about the conclusions drawn at the Youth Forum and throughout the BNBT2022 programme.

Article credit: Sarah Gilpin