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Vox Pop - Asia-Pacific youth share their dreams: the education we need

UNESCO asked youth residing in the Asia-Pacific: What is learning of good quality? What kind of skills will be needed for the future? What should young people be learning and how should they be learning it?

©Thailand, Chantchawan Chanpaibul

Here are some visions on the future of education young people shared in their essay submissions to UNESCO Bangkok’s Better Learning, Better Life competition.                                                         


Petch-Vra Thatchpon, Thailand

“The purpose of education is to equip students with the power to express themselves freely, to think critically about situations and evaluate scenarios; the current education system contradicts all these objectives.”

Tillak R Chandra Mohan, Malaysia

“How do we prepare students for a future we can barely imagine? Instead of taking authoritative roles, teachers should be mentors… we cannot limit students to only that which we know, potentially dooming them to archaic thinking.”


Shirley Abraham, India

“Learning must not aggressively attempt to provide the answers, but trigger a sense of wonder, a search for questions.”


Salita Seedokmai, Australia

“It is learning outside the classroom, which is simultaneously vital to enable us to anticipate challenges as well as strengthen skills to solve problems we might have faced in the future.”


Kamaljit Kshetrimayum, India

“What’s the use of studying this and that if we are never going to use it in real life?”


Ruth Belano, Philippines

“I have come to realize that knowledge is not measured by how high our scores are in the quarterly exams, but by how much information we actually retain.”


Victoria Calo, Philippines

“Besides making the subjects more interesting, teachers should be more interesting. No more senseless papers, no more long dragging discussions, no more arbitrary ideas that they can’t explain themselves. “


Eer Kai Song, Malaysia

“I hope our education system can include programs that will set our eyes wide open to what truly awaits us in each industry… With that, it would be much easier for us students to determine where our passion and interests lie in order to make a thoughtful and rational decision, preventing us from being enslaved by a job that we despise, waking up unwillingly with mouthful of moans and groans before setting off to work every day.”


Asaree Thaitrakulpanich, Thailand

“The current teaching methods are so suppressive that students are afraid to think for themselves.”


Adrian Paul D. Alfafara, Philippines

“Therefore, good quality learning is when one is taught of how to go along with change and work with it.”


Bhavana Mahajan, India

“…change is tangible—in our classrooms, our teaching and most importantly, in our mindsets.”



The Better Learning, Better Life competition is part of UNESCO Bangkok’s efforts to shape a new vision for the future of education. It also contributes to global thinking on the international education agenda beyond 2015 in concert with the United Nations post-Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) discussions. 

Next steps involve a high-level expert meeting on “Beyond 2015 – Rethinking Learning in a Changing World” in Bangkok, 26-28 November 2012. The views of youth who have contributed to this competition will inform discussions of regional experts and thus be reflected in UNESCO’s efforts to improve the future of education for all. 

Even though not all participants can be recognised individually, the Better Learning, Better Life team at UNESCO Bangkok wishes to convey their appreciation to all applicants and encourages them to engage with us, ensuring the voice of youth continues to be heard in important discussions around the future of education. 

By Karlee Johnson, William Federer and Kanit Teerathumaskul, UNESCO Bangkok
  Related Links:
 - Announcement of Nominations for BLBL E-contest
 - BLBL E-contest