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In the context of the education crisis exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nations is teaming up with leading children's charity Theirworld and others to launch the #LetMeLearn campaign, urging world leaders to listen to the voices of young people and put in place the plans and funding needed to provide quality education for every child.
"Around the world, education is in crisis," warned Secretary-General António Guterres, noting that the crisis in classrooms "burns slowly and is often unseen," but has "profound consequences for individuals, societies and our collective future."
Because of the disruption caused by the pandemic, hundreds of millions of children and young people are still out of school. Many of those in school are not learning the basic skills they need as citizens and participants in society. Many others question the relevance of their education systems and curricula for today's world. A global survey, commissioned by Theirworld, shows that more than two-thirds of young people surveyed believe that leaders are betraying their promise to provide quality education.
The launch of the #LetMeLearn campaign aims to create momentum towards the Education Transformation Summit that the Secretary-General will convene on 19 September to define a new vision for education that provides students of all ages and backgrounds with the skills, knowledge and values they need to thrive. World leaders will decide what action to take to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goal 4 (quality education).
The UN chief said the campaign is "to ensure that world leaders attending the summit pay attention to the voices and opinions of students. Through this campaign, the diverse experiences and views of young people and students around the world will feed into the discussions, decisions and outcomes of the summit".
Theirworld's president, Justin van Fleet, said the decisions being made by world leaders next month at the Transforming Education Summit "will affect the lives of hundreds of millions of children around the world and impact every community on the planet".
"Global education is facing a crisis of equity, quality and relevance. Education is currently a privilege, not a right, and is denied to children based on factors beyond their control at birth," he said. "It is time for world leaders to listen to young people and act today. Time is running out and inaction is not an option."