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The ‘Big 6’ Youth Serving Organisations release joint statement on non-formal education

Following the first World Non-Formal Education Forum, held on 9-11 December in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the six largest global youth organisations – one of which is The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award – released a joint position paper which reinforces a collective commitment to ensuring the world’s young people can access and benefit from quality non-formal education and learning programmes, both today and in the future.

With a growing awareness around the importance of learning outside the classroom, it is becoming increasingly accepted that formal education is not the only essential form of learning. However the balance between the two is yet to be achieved. Non-formal education – which helps young people to foster universal skills including communication, problem solving, resilience and agency, amongst other things – is often underestimated. Without proper recognition, its benefits for young people and their communities will not reach their full potential.

The paper calls for greater recognition of the evolving challenges that young people face today and the important role that non-formal education and learning can play in tackling these:

“It is becoming increasingly urgent for the whole educational establishment, in all its facets, to recognize the implications of these changes, and to enable young people to meet the challenges of an unpredictable and rapidly changing world.

We strongly encourage all those who are shaping educational policies and practices for young people to endorse the concept that non-formal education and learning is an essential part of the educational process, and to recognize the contribution that can be made by youth organisations committed to non-formal education.”

The Big 6 Youth Organizations: Joint position on non-formal education

The ‘Big 6’ encompasses the World Alliance of Young Men’s Christian Associations, World Young Women’s Christian Association, World Organization of the Scout Movement, World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation. Together, they actively involve in excess of 250 million young people. Supported by the involvement of adults, these organizations have contributed to the education of more than a billion young people during the last century.

Read the full position paper here.

Find out more about how the Award helps young people to be ready for their world here.