Empowering our Youth
Aug 11, 2020
Investing in young people can be a nation’s most strategic investment. If provided with necessary opportunities such as quality education, gainful employment, meaningful engagement, good mental and physical health, and marketable skills, youth can gain the ability and authority to make well-informed decisions to improve their and their family’s well-being. Empowered youth can not only achieve great heights for themselves but can also positively impact society at large.
Fortunately, Pakistan is young and will continue to remain young for at least another decade. With more than 68 percent of its population below the age of 30 years, investment in youth empowerment ought to be a top priority in Pakistan. Unless this demographic dividend is transformed and leveraged into a positive one, Pakistan will be at risk of leaving more young people further behind and will not be able to meet the Sustainable Development Goals Agenda.
But the current human development indicators for Pakistan’s youth do not present a very promising picture. Nearly 30 percent of youth are illiterate and nearly 77 percent quit education and began working for financial reasons. The national education budget remains at 2.3 percent of the GDP. Adding to this is the youth unemployment rate at 5.79 percent. Youth make up 36.9 percent of Pakistan’s total labour force: currently, there are more people in the working age (15 to 64) than there are those who are older (65>), or children (<15). Almost 4 million youth attain working age every year, compared to the 1 million jobs added per annum. Finally, share of Pakistani youth not in education, employment or training (NEET) stands at 30.96 percent (percent of youth population). Ninety percent youth have no access to recreational facilities (libraries, cinemas, parks etc.). In terms of access to media, information and communication technologies, 48 percent own a mobile, 15 percent have access to the Internet, 8 percent have access to radio, and 68 percent have access to television.
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