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FEATURE STORYApril 14, 2022

Young Parliamentarians at the Forefront of Innovation to Advance Learning Outcomes

Global Young MP Initiative parliamentarians


  • Education is a human right and a powerful driver of development when equitably extended to all children, particularly the most vulnerable.
  • Technology has the potential to be an equalizer, making education more accessible, especially to children in rural areas.
  • Parliamentarians are essential to building political will for inclusive and sustainable education budgets, policies, and reforms. Young parliamentarians are especially well positioned to innovate and use digital savvy to address current challenges.

April 14, 2022 – At a time when seismic shifts from conflicts, COVID-19 and climate change are causing unprecedented change around the world within just days and weeks, parliamentarians are taking action to protect the most vulnerable populations in their countries and abroad. 

Youth have been among those hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, due to school closures, job losses, missed vaccinations, and a regression in health and nutrition. Looking forward, younger generations will have to bear the burden of the long-term effects of ongoing conflicts, climate change, and reduced human capital prospects. 

Even before the pandemic, more than half of children in low- and middle-income countries faced learning poverty, or the inability to read and understand a simple text by the age of 10. Without urgent action, research shows that this rate could reach 70 percent globally. 

We are facing multiple crises around the world – several conflicts, a pandemic, climate change, and more. These crises were not created by young people, but young people will be the ones who will face it and will try to address it, and education is the key tool to empower them to face such crises.
Fatimetou Mint Mohamed
Sahar Albazar
MP, Egypt; President of the Forum of Young Parliamentarians of the Interparliamentary Union (IPU)

In this challenging context, the third meeting of the World Bank Global Young MP Initiative gathered over 70 parliamentarians aged 40 and under from every region of the world to virtually discuss “Innovations to Eliminate Learning Poverty” on April 14, 2022, in collaboration with the International Parliamentary Network for Education (IPNED) and the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and IMF (PN). 

Young parliamentarians are uniquely positioned to understand the perspectives of younger generations who feel the brunt of these many intractable challenges, a point that World Bank Vice President of External and Corporate Relations Sheila Redzepi made during her opening remarks. Young representatives not only give the vulnerable demographic a voice in parliaments, but they bring fresh ideas and technological savvy to debates.

Throughout the meeting, moderated by Hon. Dyah Roro Esti Widya Putri MP, Indonesia, participants stressed the need for harnessing technology to extend access to education to all children. They also heard from Word Bank experts and a dynamic lineup of young parliamentarians about the current education and literacy context, best practices, and innovative solutions. 

World Bank Global Director for Education, Jaime Saavedra, outlined the learning poverty landscape post-COVID, and the five-point RAPID learning recovery framework developed by the WBG, UNESCO and UNICEF to mitigate learning losses as schools reopen. He emphasized the key role that parliamentarians play in driving the political commitment behind the financial resources, technical design, and implementation necessary for change. 

Seven parliamentarians from all corners of the world shared their specific national and regional challenges and approaches. Hon. Neema Kichiki Lugangira MP, Tanzania, representing IPNED, and Hon. Sahar Albazar MP, Egypt, and President of the IPU Forum of Young Parliamentarians, both highlighted key actions parliamentarians could take to improve education results.

Sharing examples from Finland, a country with high educational standards, Hon. Sanni Grahn-Laasonen, MP and Chair of Finland’s Commerce Committee, rallied her colleagues: “Education is the strongest tool for us to change the world…In times like these, being a politician requires persistence and resilience. The result of our work is often visible only later, sometimes even a decade is a short time before we can see change happen. Dear colleagues, let’s not give up. Let’s continue to fight for every child’s right to learn. An equal and fair society seeks to give opportunities for everyone to study and to shine.” 

The importance of data in shaping policies and budgets was underscored by many, as was the need for collaboration at all levels – from global to local – to encourage countries, international organizations, CSOs, teachers, parents, and community members to work together in filling gaps in education.

The meeting closed with proposed innovative actions for young MPs to promote better learning outcomes, including:

  • increasing Education Department budgets  

  • ensuring funding cascades to the grassroots level

  • greater parliamentary engagement with education authorities

  • training early childcare providers to improve foundational literacy and numeracy

  • teaching children to be innovators and employers rather than employees 

  • high speed broadband internet coverage across countries

  • tele-lessons broadcasted through TV channels

  • a global plan to accelerate educational progress

  • launching of national chapters of the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and IMF 


Click here to watch the replay.


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