Honorable chair, distinguished delegates and fellow youth delegates
We cannot speak about quality education without mentioning inclusiveness, because no SDG can be met unless it is met by everyone. The world as we young people know it today, becomes a more and more diverse place. But that diversity is not always visible in all layers of society.
Personally I have the privilege of being a law student in Belgium. However I quickly concluded that this is not a prerogative for all young people. Last week my classes started again and I was looking at my fellow students and noticed that there were only two other students with African roots and one student with Asian origins. And I am talking about more than 400 students. This is less than 1% while 1 on 8 Belgians have a non-European background. I started wondering how many had ever faced financial difficulties? How many of us have families where no one ever enjoyed higher education? If these are going to be the active citizens and policy makers of the future, the architects of tomorrow’s society then they should be a true reflection of that society.
While having access to education, a young person’s socio-economic background remains the strongest determinant of educational success. Social exclusion and poverty directly impacts your chances of quality education and your future as an informed and actively engaged citizen. All over the world young people are still valued, not by what they can do, but where they came from.
We believe that a child should be able to excel notwithstanding their parents educational level, migrant background or financial state and regardless of their own skin-color, religion, mother tongue, state of health and gender.
As young representatives we do recognize that not every young person must have a university degree. However we do believe that all young people, all over the world should have equal access and opportunities to obtain quality education on every level. I recall, the 2030 Agenda with its focus on leaving no one behind, it acknowledges that inclusion and equity are the laying foundations of sustainability.
It is for these reasons that we call upon member states to focus on more diversity in schools and universities. We call upon governments to invest in high-quality support for vulnerable learners. We call upon world leaders to step up and become torchbearers of inclusive education.
The whole world grows when every young person can reach its full potential!