What is International Youth Day?
Each year, an International Youth Day is celebrated on August 12 all over the world. On this day, the youth’s effort for the enhancement of the global society is recognized. It also aims to promote and engage the youth for becoming more actively involved to make positive contributions to their communities from all around the world. The main purpose of the International Youth Day is to draw attention to a given set of cultural, educational, legal and development issues surrounding youth.
International Youth Day focuses on the rights of the youth to have full access to education, adequate healthcare, employment opportunities, financial services and full participation in public life.
International Youth Day Background
UN General Assembly designated 12 August as International Youth Day in 1999. After the UN General Assembly passed a resolution accepting the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth in Lisbon in 1998, the first International Youth Day was observed on 12th August 2000.
This annual celebration encourages young people to assign a role in promoting human rights and development. It is also an opportunity to raise awareness of the challenges and hardships facing the world’s youth.
Youths are considered as powerful agents of change and progress when they are well educated and empowered in different sectors. They need participated in the decision making position. Yet around the world, too many youths are being left behind. They receive a substandard education, or no education at all, and find a few decent employment opportunities. They struggle to access basic sexual and reproductive health information and services. Without these tools, young people – young women, in particular – find themselves grappling with poverty, early pregnancy, disease, and other challenges.
UNFPA advocates for the rights of young people, including their right to accurate information and services related to sexual and reproductive health and their right to play a role in decisions affecting them.
The theme of International Youth Day
The theme of the International Youth Day 2019 is, “Transforming Education”. The theme highlights the effort for making equal access to education for all the youths around the world. Rooted in Goal 4 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” – International Youth Day 2019 will examine how Governments, young people and youth-led and youth-focused organizations, as well as other stakeholders, are transforming education and how these efforts are contributing to the achievement of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The historical data shows that significant transformations are still required to make education systems more inclusive and accessible. Only 10% of people have completed upper secondary education in low-income countries whereas 40 % of the global population is not taught in a language they speak or fully understand. And over 75 % of secondary school-age refugees are out of school. In addition, indigenous youth, young people with disabilities, young women, young people belonging to vulnerable groups or in vulnerable situations, etc. are facing additional challenges to accessing education that respects their diverse needs and abilities as well as reflects and embraces their unique realities and identities.
For achieving a sustainable development goal, making education more relevant, equitable inclusiveness is crucial. As we know, for every country
education is a ‘development multiplier’ that plays a pivotal role in accelerating progress across all 17 Sustainable Development Goals such as poverty eradication, good health, gender equality, decent work and growth, reduced inequalities, action on climate or building peaceful societies.
Education should lead to effective learning outcomes, with the content of school curriculum and pedagogy being fit for purpose, not only for the 4th industrial revolution and the future of work and life but also for the opportunities and challenges that rapidly changing social contexts bring.
How an International Youth Day is celebrated?
During International Youth Day, different youth empowerment programs such as concerts, conferences, sporting events, workshops, cultural events and a meeting involving national and international officials and youth organizations take place around the world. Many events and activities take place around the world on International Youth Day to promote the benefits that young people bring into the world.
Happy International Youth Day!