Canada champions education, youth voices at ministerial pre-summit in lead up to UN Transforming Education Summit 

News release

June 30, 2022 - Ottawa, Canada - Global Affairs Canada

Conflict, increasing food insecurity, the climate crisis and the COVID‑19 pandemic have disrupted education for millions of children and youth worldwide, particularly the most marginalized including those who are displaced, especially girls and adolescent girls. Canada remains committed to working with partners and youth to help ensure quality education and lifelong learning opportunities are available to all children.

On behalf of the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, Anita Vandenbeld, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development, participated in the ministerial pre-summit, held in Paris, France, from June 28 to 30, in the lead up to the UN Transforming Education Summit (TES) in September 2022. Ms. Vandenbeld reiterated Canada’s commitment to education and to prioritizing the voices of youth in finding solutions to address the education crisis. Nhial Deng, a youth member of the Together for Learning campaign’s Refugee Education Council, also participated in the pre-summit.

During the pre-summit, Ms. Vandenbeld and Mr. Deng met with foreign delegates and partners, such as UNESCO, UNICEF, the Global Partnership for Education, Education Cannot Wait, World Bank Group, youth activists and ministers of education. They discussed challenges and solutions to ensuring access to quality education for refugees, other forcibly displaced and host community children and youth, as well as marginalized girls and adolescent girls.

They also highlighted the outcomes of Canada’s youth-led Together for Learning Summit, held in March, by reiterating the calls to action from the resulting youth manifesto and the commitments outlined in the Together with Youth—The Together for Learning Summit outcome document to ensure that priorities like inclusion, mental health, digital learning, gender equality and improving accountability are part of the efforts to transform education.

As part of Canada’s efforts to amplify the voices of displaced youth, Ms. Vandenbeld yielded the floor to Mr. Deng who encouraged heads of government, heads of state, ministers and heads of organizations to collectively yield speaking time to youth during the UN TES.

The outcomes of these and other multi-generational, inclusive discussions at the pre-summit will feed into decisions about key agenda items, issues and recommendations for the high-level UN TES.


“This is a critical moment for us to listen to youth with lived experience so we can take effective action to increase access to quality education for all children and youth. Canada is committed to amplifying the voices of youth and giving girls and boys access to safe, inclusive and equitable quality education—especially those who are marginalized because they are girls, refugees, or other displaced children and youth.”

- Anita Vandenbeld, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development

Quick facts

  • A recent report by Education Cannot Wait indicates the number of crisis-impacted school-aged children requiring educational support has grown from an estimated 75 million in 2016 to 222 million today. 

  •  According to the Malala Foundation and UN Population Fund, an estimated 20 million secondary school-aged girls will not return to school post-pandemic, and disruptions to education programs could lead to 13 million additional cases of child, early and forced marriage in the next decade.

  • In the fiscal year 2020 to 2021, Canada invested $452 million in international assistance in education.

  • Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada has allocated almost $79 million in new funding to address the effects of the pandemic on education, including:

    • $35 million for the Global Partnership for Education
    • $12.5 million for Education Cannot Wait
    • $9.4 million to support the work of Canadian civil society organizations
  • On March 30 and 31, 2022, Canada hosted the youth-led Together for Learning Summit: Engaging Displaced Youth to Transform Education, as part of its Together for Learning 3-year international campaign launched in early 2021 to help ensure refugee, other forcibly displaced and host community children and youth get a quality education.

  • The UN Secretary General will convene the TES on September 19, 2022, on the margins of the 77th UN General Assembly in New York City. The TES will provide an opportunity to reimagine education with a view to recovering pandemic-related learning losses and refocus efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4 by 2030. Participants will include heads of government, heads of state, ministers and heads of organizations. 

Associated links


Haley Johnson
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Development

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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