GIS - August 28, 2012: A four-day Youth Forum, a major international youth meeting under the theme Be the Change, opened yesterday at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute Auditorium in Moka. The event is one of four forums being held in the margin of the 18th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (18CCEM) which Mauritius is hosting.
The aim is to bring student leaders between the ages of 18-29 from across the Commonwealth to debate and make recommendations for the future of education, as well as enhance their capacity and strengthen their role in the Commonwealth education sector. Discussions are focusing on the following sub-themes: Engaging Student Voices in Education; Sharing Visions for Education in the Future; and, Emphasising Values in Education.
In his opening address, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Satyaprakash Ritoo, said that young people are the major stakeholders in the education system of any country. It is an undeniable fact that the level of progress and prosperity of a country is often gauged by the success of the educational policy in place, he said. However, noted the Minister, over the years societal complexities and hard economic realities worldwide have inevitably led to innumerable changes and challenges for students, parents and policymakers with the result that the educational system has become instrumental in shaping up the future of our youth.
According to Mr Ritoo, the developmental capacities of any nation depend majorly on the kind of knowledge and values that it has imparted to its youth. Indeed a responsive, creative and confident youth population is recognised as a catalyser for economic prosperity, social uplifting and civic engagement, he stressed.
For her part, the Commonwealth Deputy Secretary General, Ms MmasekgoaMasire-Mwamba, highlighted the importance of engaging the interest and involvement of young people. ‘One thing that is very clear within the Commonwealth is the special role that we give to young people in terms of recognising and giving effect to their contribution’, she stated. The Youth Forum has become a very important part of the Education Ministers’ Meeting and in the previous meeting, we have spoken about education as a right and not a privilege, and we look forward to a holistic appreciation of the challenge of education, added the Deputy Secretary General.
In her speech, the Deputy Chair, Pan-Commonwealth Youth Caucus, Ms Rebecca Solomon referred to the forum as an opportunity given to all to help improve the world we are living in, in other words make the change to make it a better place. ‘This is your time and space and you must make the best of this opportunity,’ she said to the young delegates.
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