In the Dominican Republic, young women and men want to learn about sustainable development! The first edition of the Academia Juvenil 2030, held over a series of Saturdays in mid-2018, brought together fifty 15-to-35 year-olds from diverse socio-economic and academic backgrounds. They learned about the SDGs and shared ideas on how young people can help achieve the Goals.
More than 30 national and international experts taught modules on specific SDGs, such as eradicating hunger (SDG 2) or promoting gender equality (SDG 5), or on the work of specific institutions, such as the Dominican Observatory on Social and Development Policies. The Academy’s organising partners included the High Level Inter-Institutional Commission for Sustainable Development, Juventud Sostenible, UN Dominican Republic, FONDESA, and Alianza ONG. The courses took place at the Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE).
The thirst for SDG knowledge is strong: more than 250 young women and men applied to participate in the programme, and the organisers are currently discussing plans for future editions of the Youth Academy. They are meeting a global need: according to the Varkey Foundation’s 2017 Global Citizenship Survey, 67% of global youth considers that it is important or very important to make a wider contribution to society, but 1 in 3 young people lament not having enough knowledge on how to do so.
The Youth Academy is part of a broader effort to engage citizens and stakeholders for the SDGs. For example, the Dominican Republic’s 2018 Voluntary National Review (VNR) announces the creation of an “Academy for the 2030 Agenda”, designed to promote SDG awareness and actions among staff and students at higher education institutions.
SDG target 4.7 calls for all learners to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development. The Global Education Monitoring Report finds that, like many other countries, the Dominican Republic is lagging behind in achieving this goal. The Report finds that the issues of global citizenship and sustainable development receive too little coverage in the school curriculum. Using OECD PISA data, the Report also finds that only 14% of all 15-year-olds in the Dominican Republic had an adequate understanding of these issues in 2015.
Header picture: ONU República Dominicana