Education is a universal human right. It is the key to a positive future for individual children, whole communities and the wider world. However, millions of children are being locked out of education simply because of who they are and where they live.
- Globally, 40 per cent of the population cannot access education.
- In the developing world, 50 per cent of children with disabilities are locked out of school.
- In areas of conflict, teenage girls are 90 per cent more likely to be out of secondary school than their counterparts in countries not affected by conflict.
This needs to change.
That’s why last Monday, Send My Friend To School launched its new campaign to ‘Unlock Education for Everyone’. And it’s perfect timing for 2019; this summer, the UK will have to report back progress to the United Nations on our promise of ensuring a quality education for all by 2030. This platform could be a great opportunity for the Government to act and address inequalities in education, but only if we push them. So how can we make a difference?
It’s simple. Join thousands of young people across the country and create a paper key to present to your local MP. By highlighting that young people agree education matters, the Government will be urged to take action to Unlock Education For Everyone. The more keys we make, the louder our voices will be.
I enjoyed creating my key. Reading through the different stories of young people around the world — all a similar age to me — emphasised the difficulties individuals and families must overcome to get an education which children in the UK have the privilege of accessing for free. It also goes to show that children are eager, driven and passionate to learn. Yet, it is factors which are beyond their control that are holding them back from prospering.
It is vital for young people to come together and campaign because our ideas are just as valuable as any other generation’s. Be confident and stand up for change across the world. Developing leadership skills today strengthens the decisions of tomorrow’s policymakers.
The keys to Unlock Education for Everyone start with you. Get active by asking your teachers and youth leaders to get involved with the campaign with the free Teacher Pack (https://act.sendmyfriend.org/teacherpack). Otherwise, organise a society or council meeting in school to engage with the issue. Feel creative? Make a poster, film or drama clip to spread the word!
The choice is yours. Together, let’s Unlock Education for Everyone.
By Jacinta Chiang