Statement

Addressing barriers to young people's education

27 April 2018
Young peoples’ education are affected by a variety of issues from sexual and reproductive health to crosscutting issues around gender and mental health.

UNFPA Country Representative Klaus Beck's message at the Third Development Partners’ Coordination Forum on addressing barriers to young people’s education

Magandang Hapon po sa inyong lahat!

First of all, allow me to congratulate the Department of Education for organizing the Third Development Partners’ Coordination Forum. The United Nations Population Fund is honored to be part of this important event.

This gathering is critical to addressing some of the barriers to young people’s education we have heard about over the last few days - sexual and reproductive health, substance abuse and crosscutting issues around gender and mental health. Fortunately as we near the end of this conference we are encouraged that the discussions held have helped identify strategic and practical steps that can be taken, and for finding areas of collaboration between young people, government and development partners.

Late last year, at a series of community level talks UNFPA held with young people, I met Kimberly, 20-years old at the time. She bravely shared her experiences and the challenges she faced with unplanned pregnancy and early motherhood. Kimberly recalled how tough it was as a single parent, particularly the moments that she could not provide for her child. She was very thankful that her family was able to support her, as she coped with early motherhood. Despite all of the challenges she faced, Kimberly remains hopeful and wants to study electronics with TESDA. She believes that education is an investment.

Kimberly is just one among many young Filipinos, who are facing a number of challenges that if not addressed may deprive them of an education and of their right and ability to realize their full potential.

Adolescence is a pivotal time in the life of an individual and a critical point at which investment in them can bring forth significant social, economic and political benefits for the whole society.

 

As a father of two teenage girls, I firmly believe that investing in adolescent health and education is not only their right and the right thing to do for them as individuals but it’s also the right thing to do for their families, for their communities and for the country as a whole. For their and for our future.

Indeed, adolescence is a pivotal time in the life of an individual and a critical point at which investment in them can bring forth significant social, economic and political benefits for the whole society. This is why it is part of the Department of Education’s 10-point agenda, and of the Reproductive Health and Responsible Parenthood (RPRH 10354) Law which aims to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

While DepEd fulfills its mandate to give children their right to good quality education, it also recognizes the roles and responsibilities of the school system, as well as other government agencies and development partners, to address the multisectoral factors that impact on their education, including health and social protection.

DepEd has instituted various health programs to prevent and respond to various issues and concerns of adolescents such as health and nutrition; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); early parenthood; the prevention of substance use and abuse; STI HIV and AIDS; and mental health. Comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) is equally important as evidence-based researches have underscored how holistic comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) enables young people to protect their health, well-being and realize their full potential.

This conference demonstrates that it is crucial to work together and meaningfully engage adolescents themselves in addressing different issues affecting them and underpin appropriate interventions that are both sustainable and strategic.

It is an honor to have this opportunity to represent Development Partners here, as we collectively commit to continue developing connections to meet the needs of our young Filipinos.

We believe that this conference will pave the way to ensure that our young people will remain healthy and will get the education they need and have the right to, while they continuously grow to become the most able leaders of this country.

We owe that to our children, we owe that to our grand-children and we owe that to all the young people out there like Kimberly who just need a little bit of support to help them achieve their dreams and aspirations for their future, such as many of us were able to achieve ours.

Again, congratulations and maraming salamat po!