European Youth Insights is a platform provided by the European Youth Forum and the European Sting, to allow young people to air their views on issues that matter to them. Written by Tariq Jahan
Tariq Jahan is a Bachelors student at University of Allahabad, India
While being youths, we are at the center of absolute strength. We think big, hope for the best and envision a better tomorrow, thereof making unceasing efforts to turn our lifelong dreams into concrete actions. Youthfulness is in practice a phase of thorough and whole change—a perfect transition in terms of physique and mentality, society and environment, regionality and universality. The phase of youth transports one from one world to another world—a world so different like scuba-diving and space exploration. Youths are such a layer of the society which has been the center of the focus of the remainder. The period of youth happens to be one of essence and core, ripened common sense and rationale accompanied by practicality and pragmatistic tendencies.
In my opinion, “People without education are like weapons without bullets.” Right after our birth, we have, in one way or the other, been imparted education. It would be no exaggeration to think of education vis a vis people like petals of the same flower or like two sides of the same coin, one entirely relying upon the other. Education is exceedingly instrumental for the realization of one’s innate self, strength, natural fitness, and factual being. Education is so necessary and essential that its insufficiency or absence may lead one to choose improper path of life.
To stick to the principal conceptualization of the topic, I would like to elucidate the issue in great details.
To begin with, education is a factor of change in one’s life: Education for the youth is the medium with the help of which they can quench their thirst for realizing their potentialities. The youth should be equipped with the best possible education and facilitated with favorable conditions to, through the attainment of their skills, be an asset to the community and that way contribute actively to the development of the community, as they are essential elements of the society. In this globalised and knowledge-based world, every young person should be given the opportunity to contribute to the society while fulfilling their potentials. Since education, as conceived of, seeks to change the way one lives and thinks, the youth first must be provided great educational opportunities and suitable conditions, the hurdles laying on their way to educational ends ought to be removed, only then will the youth be a boon to the community. The self-development of the youth is directly tied with that of the society. To help others change their paths of lives, one must first start from himself. To reach apex, it should be started from the bottom. Beginning with self-awareness, the youth should go up, flourishing and prospering. When children are sent to schools, they are on the point of fact opened the wide windows of the dark rooms of this world. There they can learn about their society, environment, social ethics and values and so on. So, it is incumbent upon every society to create constructive conditions for the youth so as to receive education.
Education as the path leader of the youth: It is with the help of education that the youth can choose and seek their interests. They choose their ways and directions of lives. With this, they set goals for themselves and strive to achieve them. Education propels the youth in the right, proper and straight direction.
Today’s Youth, Tomorrow’s leaders: Today the youth learn but tomorrow they will either lead or teach. Impartation of education is a “give-and-take” process and deal. Education encompassing all walks of life is transferred from one generation to another. So, if the present generation is appropriately educated and instructed, the coming one is for sure to be even more properly educated and taught. The youth should be properly educated as they will shoulder the leadership, expanded responsibilities tomorrow. They will lead the society and country tomorrow.
Education as a means to reform the minds of the youth: Globally speaking, education has been recognized as the priority area since it is so central to the improvement and betterment of the lives of the youth. Young people lacking proper education generally can’t differentiate between right and wrong, good and bad. They can even go misguided unless guided accurately through education. I would like to elaborate this point a bit deeper with an illustrative example from Afghanistan. The overwhelming majority of today’s combatants and insurgents in Afghanistan, Pakistan and in the close border are made up of young people. Simultaneously, most of the young people in this area form the government, working in different organs of the government, NGOs, IOs and many other state and non-state agencies. The former category propelled in the wrong direction, brainwashed and grown as a hindrance in the way of other people’s lives became a headache to and burden on the society, whereas the latter one, guided in the right way, equipped with necessary education and can distinguish between right and wrong, became a boon to the society. Naturally, none in these two aforementioned categories of people were born either criminal-minded or clever-minded but it was their environment and the societal conditions which determined their fate and destiny. The first category was properly educated and instructed while the latter one philosophically misguided and deprived of this civil right. To put in a nutshell, the effects of this very specific point should not be confined to the region or even a country, but its impacts even upon the entire globe are very apparent and crucial. If not properly taken care of, the youth can become a troublesome element even to the rest of the world, stretching out too far their philosophically misguided inclinations. Thus, the accessibility, quality and affordability of education are centrally significant to global development.
Finally, education as a medium of all-comprising developments: Education to youth is as important as soul to body. To wipe out poverty, have sustained and equitable economy, sustainable development, social and political enrichment, globally aware society, stabilized and secure world—a decent life, education is on top of all the possible means to achieve the said objectives. Further, behavior refinement, and biodiversity are the two other key developments the youth can achieve through education. Similarly, with the help of education, the youth can promote competitive issues like analytical precision, envisioning future scenarios and decision-making. Gender gap is another chief issue which the youth can reform and that way resolve through education. Keeping good health and creating suitable peaceful conditions and working for security are the other developments which the youth can achieve through education.
In one word, with proper education imparted to youth, the youth can become productive, scientific-oriented, broad-minded, and ideal citizens of the society as the society is significantly influenced by this category of people.
About the author
Tariq Jahan is a Bachelors student at University of Allahabad, India
“The world now has the largest generation of young people in history. I place great hope in their power to shape our future,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told leaders and dignitaries at High-Level Event on the Demographic Dividend and Youth Employment, held at UN Headquarters in New York on June 1st.
Much the world is poised experience a demographic dividend – the economic growth that can occur when a population shifts from one with many dependents and comparatively few working-age people to one of many working-age people with fewer dependents. Demographic dividends have helped produce unprecedented economic growth in several East Asian countries. The Republic of Korea, for example, saw its per-capita gross domestic product grow about 2,200 per cent between 1950 and 2008.
But, as Egypt’s Minister of Population Dr. Hala Youssef told the policymakers and leaders present, “The demographic dividend is not automatic… It is a window of opportunity.”
Igniting the potential of 1.8 billion
To realize the dividend, countries must invest in the empowerment, education and employment of their young people. There are 1.8 billion young people in the world today, representing a staggering amount of human potential. Yet too many of them are trapped in poverty, with few opportunities to learn or to earn a decent living.
“We all appreciate the massive waste of human capital in our world when 74 million young people cannot find work,” said Mr. Ban.
Young people are hungry for better options. “They are rejecting the status quo and demanding a better future. Many of them are claiming their right to a decent living, and they are willing to take risks to do so. We have seen in recent times the high numbers of young people taking risks around the Mediterranean, trying to reach a better life,” said Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA.
But if these youth are allowed to realize their full potential, developing countries could see huge economic gains.
“The more young people grow into well-educated adults with fewer dependants and new opportunities to acquire wealth, savings and purchasing power, the more they will be able to accelerate economic growth and development,” said Sam K. Kutesa, President of the 69th Session of the General Assembly, who convened the high-level event with support from UNFPA and the International Labour Organization.
“It is estimated the African continent could add up to about $500 billion per year to its economy for as many as 30 years,” Mr. Kutesa added.
Steps towards a better future
There are clear steps that can help countries achieve a demographic dividend.
Increasing investment in young people is key. This includes promoting quality education that prepares them for future opportunities. A “diversity of training will be needed – from quality primary and secondary schools to technical training, to two-year colleges and to research-intensive universities,” said Dr. Osotimehin.
Also essential is “empowering women and girls, and ensuring their sexual and reproductive health and human rights,” he noted. “This would enable them to determine when and whom to marry and the number of their children.” When women and girls are able to make these decisions, they are better able to complete their educations and pursue jobs.
Countries must also increase employment opportunities for young people. Daniel Johnson, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture of the Bahamas, stressed this point. “Many young people will be forced to sit on margins of society, waiting on the train track for a train that may never come,” he said, referring to the lack of employment options available in many communities.
There is also a critical need to involve young people in decisions that will affect them. “We cannot talk about sustainable development without the active involvement of youth,” Mr. Ban said, adding: “When we give young people decent jobs, political weight, negotiating muscle, and real influence in our world, they will create a better future.”
“Let us take these ideas forward to harness the demographic dividend, holding human rights, gender equality, human capital, and dignity at the center of all our investments,” Dr. Osotimehin said at the close of the event. “Only by ensuring opportunities that open the future to all young people do we create a better future.”
Image: Students in Cotonou, Benin. © UNFPA Benin/Ollivier Girard