Young people from Latin America and the Caribbean demand a holistic education that goes beyond school

  • This is the finding of the first phase of the online consultation for young people Tell them what you want to learnlaunched by the Regional Bureau of Education for Latin America and the Caribbean (OREALC/UNESCO Santiago).
  • UNESCO has launched the second phase of this initiative, which will focus on prioritising issues that require progress. The brief survey will be available until 18 November, 2016, at

The first phase of the consultation has shown that young people want to learn a wide range of contents, but also open themselves up to other knowledge and topics relevant for today’s world. Although they consider basic reading and mathematics skills to be necessary, they also want to recover the importance of global and local languages and learn about the ways in which societies are organised, through knowledge of history and the development of humanity.

Young people also want to get closer to the fields of both the arts, in all its forms, and science and technology; they want to learn to look at themselves, to identify their capacities and fears, and to look at the world, its logic and dynamics. The survey also highlighted youth’s interest in creating a different planet and community, with democracy, sustainability, and peace, based on concepts of sustainability and active citizenship, respect, collaboration, empathy, and solidarity with all.

These are some of the main findings of the on-line regional consultation “Tell them what you want to learn”, which was launched in August 2016 and designed to listen to the voices of young people aged 15 to 25 about their interests in what they want to learn and how they want to do it.

This initiative was undertaken within the framework of the new global Education 2030 Agenda by the Regional Bureau of Education for Latin America and the Caribbean (OREALC/UNESCO Santiago), with the collaboration of various stakeholders in the region, with the support of Fundación Chile as the technical secretariat of the whole process.

The preliminary results of the survey show that young people want to learn beyond schooling and the traditional forms of teaching. There is a need to think about education outside of the classroom, in public and leisure spaces, although the critical role will still be held by teachers. Youth want to learn in a collaborative, practical way, making use of on-line resources, with talks, workshops, and courses, placing strong emphasis on play and discovery.

“It has been an educational process for us as an institution to open ourselves up to the voices of young people and other social actors; I believe that we should give a clear signal of our role and our way of doing things in this new times marked by a new Global Education Agenda”, said Jorge Sequeira, Director of OREALC/UNESCO Santiago.

Atilio Pizarro, who coordinated this initiative and who is also the coordinator of the UNESCO’s Latin American Laboratory for Assessment of the Quality of Education (LLECE), emphasized that “we never end being surprised by the integrated and holistic type of learning that young people demand – they are not satisfied with basic skills, but rather want integral education with values”.

Ana María Raad, manager of Fundación Chile, added that from the perspective of the technical secretariat, “our classrooms must transform in every sense: the spatial design conceived for group work, the role of teachers as facilitators for students who learn at their own pace, and the joint creation of contents inside and outside the classroom.”

Second phase
On 15 September OREALC/UNESCO Santiago launched the second phase of the regional consultation on learning outcomes. Like the previous phase, it targets young people aged 15 to 24 in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In the second phase, young people will have to choose between proposed options on what and how they wish to learn. These options were drawn from the findings of the first phase, and once again it is expected to achieve a good representative sample of the region, even exceeding the one of the previous phase.

Video online survey (in Spanish)

This UNESCO survey is a participatory initiative whose responses will inform a reference framework, which will be submitted to the region’s Education ministers in January 2017. The information will be a valuable input for the development of public policies that will directly affect young people.


OREALC/UNESCO Santiago is grateful to the stakeholders that support this initiative: Education International (EI-LA), Latin American Campaign for the Right to Education (CLADE), Programa Mercosur Social Solidario, Red Latinoamericana por la Educación (REDUCA), Red Latinoamericana de Portales Educativos (RELPE), Teach for All (TFA), and the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC). The following institutions have also provided noteworthy collaboration: Virtual Educa, ECLAC Youth Observatory for Latin America and the Caribbean (JUVELAC), International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP), and Fundación Semilla.

What is the Education 2030 Agenda?

Education 2030 forms part of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which form the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The global goals and targets aim to promote action over the next fifteen years in five domains of critical importance (known as the Five Ps): People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership. The success of these goals is largely driven by results in the education goal. The SDGs reflect the critical role of education by encapsulating targets in a stand-alone goal, SDG 4.

Education is also included in the goals on health, ending inequality and creating decent employment, sustainable consumption and production, and climate change. The Incheon Declaration, which constitutes the commitment of the education community to Education 2030, entrusts UNESCO to lead, coordinate and be the focal point for education within the framework of the overall SDG coordination.

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