A Youth Manifesto on Education for Refugee and Displaced Learners
Outcomes of the Government of Canada’s Together for Learning Summit
In 2021, Canada launched the ‘Together for Learning’ Campaign’. Running over three years, this international campaign promotes quality education and lifelong learning for children and youth who are refugees, internally displaced, or living in host communities. It aims to drive community, national, and global change to ensure all children have access to quality education.
More than just an awareness campaign, the Government of Canada has also demonstrated its commitment to action by working with organizations like WUSC to improve access to quality education for refugee and displaced young people globally. WUSC works in partnership with Global Affairs Canada to increase enrollment and improve learning outcomes for youth affected by conflict and displacement in Kenya, Mali, South Sudan, and Uganda.
On March 30 – 21, 2022, Canada hosted the virtual ‘Together for Learning Summit: Engaging Displaced Youth to Transform Education.’ This summit brought together government officials and representatives of civil society, multilateral organizations, and the private sector to discuss what the global community is learning about refugee education, and to hear from displaced youth directly on their education experiences and hopes for the future.
A Youth Manifesto for the Future of Education
Engaging those with lived experiences is an important cornerstone of the Together for Learning Campaign. Through the Campaign’s Refugee Education Council, young people affected by displacement have been given a platform to ensure that solutions and approaches are shaped by their knowledge and experiences. Among the members of the Council is an alum of WUSC’s Student Refugee Program.
At the summit, the council presented their new Manifesto, ‘A Vision for the Education of Refugee and Displaced Learners’. This Manifesto amplifies the voices of those who are most impacted by global education decisions and yet who have been historically under-represented in such decision-making processes. It outlines five core themes that, when taken together, will help create a world where all young people have access to quality education and lifelong learning.
A Truly Global Youth Manifesto
While the Refugee Education Council includes a diverse representation of young people with lived experiences of displacement, they knew there were many more perspectives to be heard. In the lead up to the Summit, at the request of the council and the Government of Canada, WUSC hosted regional youth dialogues to engage refugee and displaced young people in discussions about education.
Four dialogues were held, engaging 100 young people in Latin America, East Africa, West and Central Africa, and West Asia. Participants from outside these regions were invited to provide their perspectives on the themes of the Together for Learning Campaign through a written submission.
Youth Call: The Five Essential Investments for Education for All
- Inclusion: Education must be informed by and accessible to refugee and displaced youth across different backgrounds.
- Mental Health and Psychosocial Support: Schools must create safe learning spaces for all.
- Digital Learning: Technological solutions and infrastructure should be strengthened to engage refugee and displaced youth, particularly those in hard-to-reach areas.
- Gender Equality: Refugee and displaced girls and young women must be supported to overcome the disproportionate disadvantages they face in accessing quality education.
- Accountability: Governments and organizations working in global education must remain accountable to refugee and displaced learners who are impacted by their decision-making.
A Global Response: The Together for Learning Communique
Following two full days of discussions at the Summit, a Joint Ministerial Communiqué was developed in response to the Youth Manifesto. It emphasized the importance of working in partnership and the continued engagement of youth in a leadership capacity in delivering on the Manifesto’s key themes, particularly as schools and learners continue to overcome the disruption to education caused by COVID-19.
The global community has made important progress toward closing the education gap for refugee and displaced youth. However, much more work remains to be done. The Youth Manifesto and Joint Ministerial Communiqué offer clear steps forward in the pursuit of education for all. We look forward to working with youth, teachers, parents, communities and governments around the world to turn this vision into a reality.
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