On June 28, representatives of Teach For India and Teach For All’s global organization joined education advocates from around the world at the United Nations headquarters for a High-level Sustainable Development Goals Action Event on Education convened by the Office of the President of the General Assembly.
The day’s events, which focused on discussing ways to advance Sustainable Development Goal 4 (“To ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning”), featured remarks from education leaders and ministers of education, panel discussions, a youth roundtable, and a “marketplace” that showcased solutions to delivering low-cost or free learning resources to students and educators.
Teach For India alumna and current Senior Manager for Student Leadership, Sanaya Bharucha, was one of six civil society and social entrepreneur youth speakers at the event and a respondent during a panel discussion on “Education for Sustainable Development and Education for Global Citizenship.” In her statement, Sanaya spoke powerfully about the complex education crisis in India, the work Teach For India is doing, and her own experiences as a Teach For India Fellow in Pune and leading the Maya Musical project. She highlighted the importance of community involvement in education reform, explaining, “If we’re ever to attain an inclusive and quality education, children can’t be passive recipients of their education. They must be equal partners in our fight for equal education.”
Sanaya also participated in a discussion with Carolyn Miles, CEO and President of Save the Children, and other youth education advocates from around the world, about campaigns to ensure quality education for all and the implementation of SDG 4.
Innovative solutions to educational issues and the need to invest in teachers were two major themes that arose during the day’s sessions. Panelists such as Asmaa Alfadala of the World Innovation Summit for Education and Mary McDonnell, winner of the 2017 Global Teacher Prize, argued for greater investment in teachers, teacher training, and fostering a culture for schools to develop and try out new ideas.
The importance of locally rooted and globally informed solutions – one of Teach For All’s core values – was also highlighted by numerous speakers. May East, the Chief Executive of Gaia Education, stressed the need to strengthen students and teachers who are “glocalizers,” or people that are locally attuned and globally aware. “On the global level we need to magnify and facilitate work on the local level,” shared Rapporteur on the Right to Education, Koumba Boly Barr. “It’s not enough to facilitate on the global level because the time it takes for these initiatives is too long.”