Youth today facing "learning crisis," warns UN chief

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 10 -- United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that youth today are facing a learning crisis, noting that they should learn how to learn.

"We are facing a learning crisis. Too often, schools are not equipping young people with the skills they need to navigate the technological revolution," the UN chief said in his message for the International Youth Day, to be observed on Aug. 12.

"Students need not just to learn, but to learn how to learn," he noted.

The secretary-general stressed that education today should "combine knowledge, life skills and critical thinking."


(Photo: VCG)

"It should include information on sustainability and climate change. And it should advance gender equality, human rights and a culture of peace," he said.

"All these elements are included in Youth 2030, the United Nations strategy to increase our engagement with young people and support them in realizing their rights," said the UN chief.

There are currently 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24 in the world. This is the largest youth population ever. However, more than half of all children and adolescents aged 6-14 lack basic reading and maths skills, despite the fact that the majority of them are attending school. "This global learning crisis threatens to severely hamper progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)," according to UN website.

Aug. 12 was first designated International Youth Day by the UN General Assembly in 1999, and serves as an annual celebration of the role of young women and men as essential partners in change, and an opportunity to raise awareness of challenges and problems facing the world's youth.