In 2018, the Varkey Foundation assembled a coalition of civil society organizations to lobby the first ever meeting of G20 education ministers, held in Argentina.

While the G20 has met regularly since its inception in September 1999, the meeting in Argentina marked the very first time all the G20 education ministers held a summit, at a time when there is growing concern about the global education crisis. Around the world, there are nearly 263 million children out of school, and of the 650 million primary school-age children in school, 250 million are not learning the basics. At current rates of progress it will take until 2072 to eradicate illiteracy among young people, and, in order to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal of quality education for all, we will need to recruit 69 million teachers by 2030. These educational failings endanger the future health of the global economy.

Meeting on the fringe of the G20 summit, a group of civil society organisations including Plan International Canada, Education International, and the Harvard School of Education brought their decades of first-hand experience dealing with education challenges on the ground to bear, as they come up with imaginative, practical and pioneering solutions.

Representatives of the CSOs presented their recommendations to the chair of the G20 education meeting, Argentina’s national minister of education, to aid the G20 discussions and help develop an action plan on how to best solve the world’s deepening education problems.

Among policy papers the group of CSOs discussed are how to create a highly motivated and professional teaching force; issues around education, equity and inclusion; how to match the future labour market with the right youth skills; and how education, young people and social media interact.