My name is Finn, I’m 14 and I live in Yorkshire. I am interested in politics, enjoy keeping up with current affairs and trying to understand the global shifts in why people vote the way they do. I am also very passionate about children's rights, and about how, even in the 21st century, not all children have access to education, and thinking about the changes that need to be implemented to rectify these systemic problems.
My campaigning journey
This particular interest has led me to collaborating with Send my Friend to School, where I received 7 training sessions teaching me how to interact with people in power, make speeches and how to campaign effectively. In turn, this led me onto being selected to take part as a youth representative at the Save the Children Global Hangout, which aimed to get across to leaders the concerns of young people surrounding the effects of Covid-19 on our personal and global education, and share ideas about how to mitigate them. My input was to deliver a speech at the event focusing on climate change and the impact of coronavirus on the disparities between state and private education.
The threat of inequality
My experience of missing school has been challenging. My school wasn’t able to provide a full remote timetable, despite the admirable efforts of teachers who went to great lengths to try and deliver good quality education. Due to the lack of face-to-face contact, our education was reduced to worksheets from textbooks. However, what really shocked me during lockdown was that private school children saw very little changes to the way they were taught, thanks to their education going entirely online. Contact with teachers was as normal, and the standard expected of them was the same. This will inevitably cause even greater inequalities which were already cavernous between the haves and have-nots. This injustice was highlighted with Marcus Rashford’s campaign to ensure 1.3 million children from poorer families were able to receive school meal vouchers throughout the pandemic. Home-schooling won’t have been a viable option for those families struggling to put food on the table.
A global movement to protect education
After agreeing to join the call, I also considered the global impact and was shocked to discover that 9 out of 10 school children have missed schooling during the pandemic. Of these, some 9.7 million children have been identified that might never go back to school, setting the fight for equal global education back even further than it was before. These things are so important to me as a campaigner, because not only it will affect the future of my generation, but my children’s and grandchildren’s as well. Global education gives societies the potential for growth; equipping children with the knowledge and skills required to develop themselves and their surroundings. This is why education is so important, because with universal education we can radically enhance the opportunities of every child in every corner of the world.
It is our turn to lead on the change
When on the call, it felt very encouraging to be heard by people in office. For children to speak with those in power is so important; sometimes I think they fail to look at the impacts their decisions have on young people who can’t yet vote, and instead think only about the influence their decisions will have on their upcoming electoral results. This is why the Global Hangout was so important to me - it gave me the opportunity to express my opinions to those in the legislature who can make decisions that change the world.
I would like to see the UK and other governments put measures in place to keep children around the world in school, and also work collectively to tackle the injustices surrounding global education. This issue should not be ignored as it affects the lives of every single young person, who is in school or is not.
You can support Finn by signing the petition to protect education around the world
Notes from the editor
- We are proud that this project was done in collaboration with the Send My Friend to School coalition.
- The policy asks in this blog represents the views of the young activist and does not necessary reflect the policy calls of Save the Children UK.