In order to address the economic and social challenges that young people around the world have to face youth and their representative organizations must be active protagonists in public policy.
Indeed, the current climate calls for a more dynamic role for young people in public policy and decision-making processes. However, in most countries there is still a lack of opportunities for the education sector to reflect the needs, concerns and unique insights of young people in the design, implementation and monitoring of education plans and policies.
Building on the success of its 2012 Policy Forum on 'Engaging Youth in Planning Education for Social Transformation’, IIEP is undertaking a small research programme designed to assist ministries in charge of education in engaging with young people as a stakeholder in participatory planning processes.
The aim of the research programme will be to develop knowledge, tools and recommendations to support ministries in charge of education to initiate and sustain meaningful youth participation.
Our starting point is the understanding that participatory planning can assist education policy makers and planners to shape education systems that are responsive to young people’s needs and expectations and equip them with the skills needed to thrive, particularly on leaving the education system and their transition to the world of work.
The programme will start with a case study on the experience of Uganda and possibly expand to other countries.
The research will address the following broad questions :
- To what extent do current education policies and programmes reflect the needs and concerns of young people?
- To what extent have young people been involved in the development of educational plans and policies and in education decision making processes more broadly?
- What are the potential entry points for engaging youth in educational policy making and planning processes along every step of the processes?
- What mechanisms and support are needed to help ministries in charge of education become more effective in responding to the needs and concerns of youth? How can these mechanisms be monitored and evaluated?
The expected outcomes of this research is to produce a guidance tool that will support ministries and young people in assessing the status of youth engagement in educational decision-making and form the basis for ministries in charge of education to develop further strategies for youth engagement where needed.
It is hoped that the research will provide a greater understanding of the rationale for youth engagement in educational planning and decision-making processes, as well as an improved understanding of planning issues that affect youth in order to make education systems more relevant to the lives of young people.