Youth: an imperative force for a progressive society

Youth of any nation is always considered the asset of a country and it plays a primary role in the development of that country. Youth plays a vital role in keeping the nation upfront at the international level as through their contribution, a country moves on and on in the right direction of prosperity. Pakistan is a country where more than fifty percent population is comprised on people who are between 16 to 30 years of age.

The vision of our country lies in the hands of our youths. They are filled with tremendous and towering ambitions. It will be a great wastage of human resources if these youths are not given an opportunity to exercise their talent. This beautiful land needs the youth in order to make our soil to become a brighter one. The primary role of young people is to get a good education in order to become better citizens of tomorrow. They need to learn skills to do the job that their country’s economy needs. They also need to know how to read, write, think, understand, analyse, and discuss the issues their country faces. The entire success of the nation depends on the youth. However, in order for continuous success to take place; it is the Government’s responsibility to provide the youth with proper facilities for, getting equipped with the knowledge of the modern era. The new government in Pakistan is fully aware of its duty with regards to youth engagements.

The PTI’s youth policy comprises of three Es, Education, Employment and Engagement. “Our policy will ensure that we create a group of educated, skilled young people that are invested in making Pakistan a great nation,” Prime Minister Imran Khan revealed while talking about the youth policy. He pointed out that Pakistan is experiencing a youth bulge, with over 63% of the population under age 25. Out of these, 43 million are currently between ages 15-24. However, this population faces constraints of poor

education and skills.

The government is all set to launch National Education Policy 2018. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government intends to allocate more resources and bring uniformity in the curriculum of different types of education systems in the country. Before elections when the country was gearing up to put into power the new political leaders, a call has been made to enhance the budgetary allocation for education to four per cent of the gross domestic product.

This was urged at a consultative session on a qualitative analysis of Higher Education in Pakistan, the challenges and recommendations. Prime Minister Imran Khan in his first speech had invited the private sector to help the government in this challenge but the government has to take the lead, he said. Education is the topmost priority of the present government in line with the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan. Illiteracy is a major issue around the world. About ninety percent of the people who reside in villages are illiterate. The reason is their utter ignorance and lack of initiative to lead them in the right direction. Someone has to pull them up. Here also, the young people can be of immense help along with the initiatives of the government. Creating 10 million jobs in five years is another target of the present government. According to estimates by economists, approximately two million additional youth are looking for employment opportunities every year. Hence, it is estimated that in the next five years 10 million youth will be entering the job market and looking for employment opportunities. The young population of Pakistan can become its biggest asset and creator of economic value given the right skills and education and merit-based productive employment opportunities. On the other hand, if we don’t do that, this youth dividend can also become our biggest challenge with horrendous economic and social consequences. There should be no debate about whether we need to target creation of these 10 million jobs. The only debate should be about how best to achieve this aim.

The primary engine of growth and job creation is the private sector of any country. Hence, the vast majority of these jobs will be created in the private sector through facilitative policy of the government which encourages them to expand their business and make investments which create jobs. Currently, the private sector is over-regulated and overtaxed and most importantly not treated as an equal stakeholder in economic decision-making. We have to realise that the government’s role is to create a business and investor friendly environment and make investment in supportive human and physical capital. when it comes to creation of jobs, The first step of engaging and incentivising the private sector has already been explained.

The second key ingredient is to target sectors for prioritisation which are job intensive and consistent with the Pakistani economy’s comparative advantage. Evidence based research shows that sectors of the economy that have the most potential to create new jobs are manufacturing (SMEs), construction, tourism and social services (education, health). The digital policy of PTI doesn’t only talk about IT and startups, rather it addresses different core education-related steps too that would be taken to improve the tech-related expertise in the long run.

PTI’s Digital Policy basically tackles three important issues, the Digital Policy as outlined by PTI has been designed to kill the dearth of jobs, the policy would also increase the software-related exports and use technology to increase transparency and curb corruption. Recognizing and involving youth in a community’s decision-making processes is about more than engaging young people for the sake of inclusivity. It’s about recognizing the measurable benefits youth offer to organizations and whole communities. The role of the youth in the nation building is crucial. They are problem solvers, have a positive influence on other young people and the nation, and are extremely ambitious. They have the ability to create an identity for themselves and move the nation forward. However, they will not be able to do this without the support of their Government and fellow youths. So the youths can make their beautiful land flourish and shine in success. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) currently enjoys great support among the youth, as they have been courting them since their inception and they also contested the last elections by engaging them, as well as allocating some tickets to young people as well. Youth and skill development has been discussed in different provincial policies and frameworks. However, they are only useful if they are implemented properly, and due to a lack of support and funds from the government, many of these policies have been ignored to date.

Although successive governments have launched different youth engagement initiatives, they are mostly skewed in favour of upper middle class or elite groups of society. Youth from national institutions are generally ignored. Youth is expecting a lot from the present government. We as a nation owe our future generation an opportunity to earn a respectable livelihood and become productive partner in creating a prosperous Pakistan. Let’s take the constitutional obligation placed upon us as not mere rhetoric but an objective worth striving for.

Published in Melange Intl. Magazine in October 2018.

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