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Commonwealth highlights students’ contribution to transforming education on International Youth Day 2019

13 August 2019

The Commonwealth has developed a new education programme to strengthen learning systems in member countries. 

The 'Learning for Life' project focuses on the following areas:

  • Learners’ empowerment for active and responsible citizenship;
  • Competent and well qualified educators using learner-centred approaches and active pedagogies that engage learners;
  • Educators trained in transformative school leadership and management for equity and inclusion;
  •  Harnessing new technologies that provide disadvantaged groups including youth with disabilities, access to quality learning;
  • Partnerships and collaborative processes to create innovative solutions

The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs says the theme of yesterday’s International Youth Day 2019, ‘Transforming education’, was designed to highlight efforts to make education more relevant, equitable and inclusive for all young people.

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 examined how Governments, young people, youth-led and youth-focused organisations, as well as other stakeholders, are transforming education and how these efforts are contributing to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Commonwealth’s 53 member countries have a combined population of more than two billion people, of which more than 60 per cent are aged under 30. Yet millions of school-aged children and adolescents are out-of-school, while millions of young people and adults are unemployed due to a mismatch of skills in the labour market, indicating the existing education system is ineffective as it fails to prepare youth for life and unlock growth in the economy by preparing young people for the job market.

Commonwealth head of social policy, Layne Robinson, said: “Student leadership and engagement must be at the heart of the education system as we seek to transform education to make it more relevant for the future.”

The Commonwealth has further pioneered thought leadership on youth work and its role in transforming non-formal education and learning policy and practice.

A 2017 baseline study of Youth Work in the Commonwealth across its 53 countries highlights the urgent need for legislative, policy, resource and financing responses to establish and strengthen youth work. 

The Commonnwealth Students Association (CSA) functions as the bridge between student voices and high level international education meetings. Their primary goal is to build the capacity of student leadership and empower them to be a significant part of the education policy formulation, implementation and review.

CSA chairperson Dr Maisha Reza said: “While we celebrate how far we have come with the student movement for education, there is still a long way to go for our vision to be manifested.

“There needs to be greater allocation of resources to build student governance in an apolitical manner to ensure students’ interests are fairly and boldly represented."

Learn about our youth work

More about the work Commonwealth Students Association can be seen on their website and links to their reports:


State of Student Governance in the Commonwealth