Youth Policy And Addressing Their Emerging Issues. Introduction

October 30, 2014, 4:00 pm


By: Dr.Athiqul H Laskar

India is already been recognised as second fastest economy, after China. India is one of the largest economies in the world, and shall continue its rapid urbanization and economic development over the next several decades. This is a very positive and welcome development. But at the same time Indian rapid development has raised number of the challenges for the country. The challenges are: rising consumption and demand for energy, increasing green house emissions, and constraints on critical natural resources such as land, water and oil. India needs to find solutions and ways to ensure energy and environment sustainability without compromising its economic and social development. In spite of India’s strong policy framework and some successes, environmental degradation has not been arrested on a large scale. By 2030, India is likely to have a G.D.P. of USD 4 trillion and a population of 1.5 billion. This will swell demand for critical resources such as coal and oil with a parallel increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Considering that 80% India of 2030 is yet to be built, the country may have a unique opportunity to pursue development while managing emission growth, enhancing its energy security and creating a few world scale clean-technology industries.
The strategy is closely aligned with the Government of India’s own development priorities expressed in the Eleventh Five Year Plan. It was arrived at after a series of consultations with a broad range of stakeholders including the government and civil society. Under the strategy, the Bank will use lending, dialogue, analytical work, engagement with the private sector, and capacity building to help India achieve its goals.
India has now become a Young Nation: In order to achieve this dream of a ‘Green Prosperous India’, country will have to rely on its most valuable asset, its youth. Global issues need to be brought to the knowledge of an average individual. The best way to walk and begin on this path is informing the youth. Many of the best ideas come from young minds. The Indian youth is, and must be, the builder of a new society and new economic order. At present, 42% of the population of India is composed of people aged between 15-35 years. The figure of youth composition will touch 55% mark in next thirty years. As compared to China, India, a growing democracy with a complex and diverse society The challenge is to ensure that this huge youth population becomes a vibrant, constructive force that can address social issues and create a more equitable and peaceful world. Young people should not merely be looked as passive recipients of services and consumers. But they should be recognised them as change agents who have the energy, passion and creativity to make a significant contribution to society. It is also critical to build the skills of the youth for the future. While every segment of society is responsible for maintaining the environmental integrity of the community, young people must have a special interest in maintaining a healthy environment because they will be the ones to inherit it.
Youth as change Agent: Youth are at the forefront of global, social, economic and political developments. In addition to their intellectual contribution and their ability to mobilize support, young people bring unique perspectives that need to be taken into account. The progress of our societies is based, among other elements, on each society’s capacity to involve young women and men in building and designing the future.
Youth Policy Formulation shall be important vehicle and guiding instrument for the youth participation. The policy frame work provides guidelines to those involved in formulating and executing youth-related policy and programmes at all levels. The youth policy framework shall propose a set of youth participation indicators and shall attempt to both ensure youth participation and measure its effectiveness. The policy frame work should also aims to encourage, at the local, national and regional levels, the inclusion of young people in ongoing decision-making processes. This shall ensure a genuine partnership between young people and adults. It is expected that it will inspire means of improving access and benefit, ability to influence and equity of young people. Youth participation is about developing partnerships between young people and adults in all areas of life so that young people can take a valued position in our society and the community as a whole can benefit from their contribution, ideas and energies.
Major youth Problems and areas of concern of India: India is one large country politically. But there are many India so far as Indian youth and their problems are concerned. The problem of rural youth is different, especially right education, employability, education and soft skills Training facility and vocational training. Youth of urban India and India of cities has different problems.
Upper layer of youth of the cities have problem of drug abuse, alcoholism and college ragging. There are very good education opportunities but problem of employability is relevant.
Indian Youth and Sustainable Development: It is critical to recognize them as change agents who have the energy, passion and creativity to make a significant contribution to society while also building their skills for the future. While every segment of society is responsible for maintaining the environmental integrity of the community, young people must have a special interest in maintaining a healthy environment because they will be the ones to inherit it.
Environmental issues present some of the most profound and complex challenges requiring attention today and in the coming decades.
One foundation-building step in enhancing local, regional, national and global capacities to respond to those challenges is increasing environmental awareness. Here the role of youth is central, for it is in the rising generations that heightened awareness can most easily be achieved. Awareness is not about telling people what will happen. Rather it is about personalizing it and telling them how it could impact their lives. Young educated people are especially well-placed to promote environmental awareness simply because they often have better access to information about the environment than do their elders. In part this is a matter of having being exposed to more environmental education in schools and living all their lives in an era in which environmental issues have loomed large. Established anti-ecological ways of thinking and behaving are not ingrained in young people, and they can introduce fresh ideas and outlooks to issues. Youth can undertake public awareness programs in their schools, nearby communities and rural neighbourhoods to spread awareness.
The participation of youth in environmental protection can be sought at levels and locations ranging from grass-roots activism and participation in conservation projects to policy-making bodies and NGOs. The role of youth can be institutionalized in policy-making through advisory bodies such as youth councils. Many national Governments have ministries or departments with “youth affairs” as part of their portfolio, though such offices tend to view youth as a population to be addressed by public policy (often “youth affairs” is part of the education ministry), rather than a resource to be tapped for participation in policy-making in a variety of areas, including the environment. The role of NGOs has become increasingly institutionalized, so the youth can join various NGOs. There are possibilities for youth participation in practical environmental projects. Even one’s everyday life- and particularly the consumption decisions made in it- can become an “environmental project”.
The Government also has some duties which it is should undertake in order to strengthen participation of youth in the protection, preservation and improvement of the environment. Integration of environmental education and training into education and training programs is one of them. Emphasis should be given to environmental education in school curricula. The participation of youth groups in gathering environmental data and in understanding ecological systems and actual environmental action should be encouraged as a means of improving both their knowledge of the environment and their personal engagement in caring for the environment. It should also focus on enhancing the role of the media as a tool for widespread dissemination of environmental issues to youth. Governments should establish procedures allowing for consultation and possible participation of youth of both genders in decision-making processes with regard to the environment, at the local, national and regional levels.
In addition to these some more initiatives need to be taken at schools in order to develop an interest of the children towards the environment. Through posters, slogan writing, puppet shows, street plays, and similar traditional media we can spread the message of Green Environment – A Sustainable Environment. Eco Clubs can run campus-wide campaigns to promote water and energy conservation, organize national intercollegiate recycling competitions, energy conservation contests and annual celebratory events like Earth Day and Environment Day. We can also have an Each One Teach One program where each student imparts life skills to at least one individual from the under privileged section of the society. Through this personalized interaction, messages on eco friendly strategies are imparted which are localized to the community. These campaigns can give heartening results. A campaign by the school students for the students – Say No to Crackers was launched in Delhi some years back. It has made a significant decrease in the pollution levels of the city, as the youth and children have voluntarily decided to boycott the use of crackers and celebrate a smoke free and noise free Diwali. Anticipating the possibility of load shedding in the summer of 2007, young green entrepreneurs in Mumbai embarked on a Save Power Campaign called ―I Will and Mumbai Will. These activities were initiated to educate and motivate the consumers to switch over to CFL lamps which, in partnership with Phillips India, were made available to consumers at discounted rates. Consumers were appealed, through advertisements in Leading Newspapers, to operate their washing machines and other electric gadgets at non-peak hours and set their air-conditioners to 240 C and thus join the Conservation Campaign. This was backed up with Awareness Programs on Energy Conservation and Electrical Safety held in schools and colleges. Visits of children from schools to thermal power station at Trombay were organized. The contents of all the awareness programs focused on the need for energy conservation, easy to follow tips on conserving energy and precautions to be taken while using electric gadgets to avoid accidents. Such initiatives were replicated in various states of India and have led to green entrepreneurship.

Youth not Educated for Employment
Youth from several Indian states are “not educated enough for employment” as per the market demand as per recent study released.
The findings also indicated that “most youth were neither adequately educated nor equipped with vocational skills”.
“Just two in every five young men (40 percent) and one in every three young women (33 percent) had completed secondary education…(and) one in every 12 young men and one in four young women had never been to school at all in the country,” said the study conducted under the aegis of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The study titled ‘Youth in India: Situation and Needs’ assessed the situation of youth in six states – Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Tamilnadu – between 2006 and 2008, involving over 58,000 youths in the age group of 15-29 years. Around 44-52 percent of men and 36-48 percent of women in Maharashtra and the southern states of Andra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu had completed 10 or more years of education, compared to 30-38 percent of men and 13-18 percent of women from the other states. “Basic education can be very important in helping people to get jobs and gainful employment. This connection, while always present, is particularly critical in a rapidly globalising world in which quality control and production according to strict specification can be crucial,” Nobel laureate Amartya Sen said at the release of the study. Around 56 percent of men and 68 percent of women surveyed were interested in acquiring vocational skills to help employability. The study was carried out by the Population Council, Delhi, and International Institute of Population Sciences, Mumbai.

India is shining. India is progressing with an amazing growth rate. Growth rate of India is the second highest in the world after that of China The youth force of India are contributing lot to the same. It is believed that principal reason behind Indian progress is its youth force, highest in number in the world. However, there is a problem. Huge number of Indian youth is not only unemployed but unemployable.
There are two new world leaders China, in manufacturing sector and India, in service sector. Large numbers of white collar jobs are waiting for suitable candidates. Indian youth force, behind the progress of India, is mainly engaged in IT. India is a leader in software. Software industries in India are continually offering white collar jobs besides some blue collars.
India is also world leader in BPO (Business process out sourcing) and KPO (Knowledge process out sourcing). Large numbers of call centres are contributing to the industries and trades of America the US, UK, and Australia, Japan, European Union, Canada Japan and many other developed countries. BPO sector needs large number of blue collars. KPO industries require and offer white collar jobs.
An IT industry has seen a tremendous boom in India. This industry has employed large number of educated youth with handsome salary. Normally, IT is the highest paid sector. Management, banking, finance, retail, telecommunication, entertainment etc. are some other new sectors that helped India in her tremendous growth.
Shortage of Skill Power: These sectors have started facing a typical problem. Despite a large number of educated youth, there is a shortage of skilled manpower. This is the dilemma. There are unemployed youths and the companies are facing shortage of manpower.
A recent survey throws light on the problem, problems with the educated youth. They are mainly lacking three types of skills.
1. Communication skill
2. Analytical skill and problem solving
3. Respective Domain knowledge and skill.
While in interview approximately sixty percent candidates are screened due to lack of communication skills. Rest twenty five percent are screened for analytical skills and five percent for their lack of knowledge in their respective domain. Hence ninety percent of educated youth force are lacking in one of these three main skills required for job and employment. Only ten percent of educated force of India is employable. Employers are struggling hard to attract them with huge pay-packages that are increasing their production cost significantly. The employers are loosing their competitive edge in global markets. Global slow down only adds to the crisis. Corporations are now facing dual problem.
The problem lies in the education system. The Indian education system has a mismatch with the requirements of the industries. Institutes teach whatever they want. Institutes do not teach what industries require. Industries do not require what institutes teach. The syllabus committees have not been interfacing with the industries. Many big industries have set-up their own in house training program to fight with the problem.
Most of the newly employed youths are compulsorily undergone employers own training program. This enhances cost of employers enormously. It also wastes time.
The problem and solution have two aspects: Individual and collective: As an individual you have to choose your courses carefully. You have to interact with the industries to know their requirements. You must choose an institute very carefully. Ensure that they are covering above mentioned three aspects in their syllabus. It is in your best interest to ensure that your institute is interfacing with the requirements of industries before you admit into it.
What should be done as a general measure to solve the problem? The one point solution of the problem is a change in education system, a radical change. There must be an interface among Government bodies looking after education, Universities, all India committee of technical education and the representatives of the industries. The institutes must educate as per industries’ needs. Have these done, India will not face problem of employability and the youth force of India will not be remain unemployed.
Maintaining rapid and inclusive growth: Infrastructure
Infrastructure of Skills: China vs India: The shortage of skills is preventing large segments of the population from being part of India’s growth story. Nearly 44% of India’s labour force is illiterate, only 17% of it has secondary schooling, and enrolment in higher education is just 11%. This compares unfavourably with, for example, China, where access to secondary education is almost universal and enrolment in higher education exceeds 20%. Moreover, the quality of most Indian graduates is poor and employers offer very little skills upgrading (16% of Indian manufacturers’ offer in-service training to their employees, compared to over 90% of Chinese firms). The informal sector employs over 90% of the workforce. There is very little investment or opportunity for formal skilling for informal workers and enterprises.

Agricultural Growth and Productivity: Low agricultural productivity is keeping some 60 percent of India’s population behind. Shortages of basic rural infrastructure – from roads to electrification – are hindering the growth of off-farm activities. No doubt, agricultural growth has been faster over the past five years (4.7% per year)- facilitated by very good monsoons, greater production of high-value fruits, vegetables, and dairy products, an increase in the minimum support price for grains, and the sudden increase in global prices for agricultural products. But, sustaining this level of performance over the longer term will be difficult without addressing several policy and structural constraints, including a myriad of restrictions, subsidies, support prices, sector governance issues, as well as the tiny size of landholdings and years of underinvestment. The Indian Government has asked the World Bank to place special emphasis on agricultural development in its new strategy.
Challenges of development sustainable: most environmental indicators suggest that growth is extracting an increasing toll on the country’s natural resources – water, land, forests, soils and biodiversity – and leaving a larger pollution footprint. India is highly vulnerable to climate change; cyclones, floods and droughts are happening with increasing frequency, and the Himalayan glaciers that feed India’s largest rivers show clear signs of retreat. Indeed, climate change will impact India first and foremost through its water resources. Rising temperatures will also affect agricultural yields, forests, and marine and coastal biodiversity. India will need to better manage these resources (particularly water) and reduce the burden that environmental degradation is imposing on the population, particularly on the most vulnerable groups.
Increasing the effectiveness of service delivery: while much progress has been made on primary school enrolment, improvements have been elusive in other sectors, particularly health. Although deaths from TB have fallen and polio cases have reduced dramatically in 2008, child malnutrition levels are worse than in Sub-Saharan Africa, despite large expenditures. No Indian city provides water 24/7, only half the population has access to safe drinking water, and less than a third has access to sanitation. Public services fall short largely because they have little or no accountability to the ultimate client, and outdated management systems are unable to provide the information needed for decision-making. These issues are particularly acute in centrally sponsored schemes which are designed and funded by the central government but implemented by the states and lower echelons of government. Given the importance of these schemes, systemic improvements in design and governance are crucial to get results from public spending. The Government of India has requested the World Bank to place special emphasis in its new strategy on centrally sponsored schemes that aim to achieve the MDGs. The Bank will focus on increasing accountability to citizens, decentralizing responsibilities, and enhancing private sector participation in the delivery of these services.
Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA): The World Bank will continue to assist the central government by providing comprehensive analytical work to underpin policy and institutional reform and to improve the implementation of central government projects on the ground. Under the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) for example, while schools are now more accessible and gender parity has been reached, the focus will now be on improving the quality of education provided. In the power sector, the Bank will continue to support Power grid, India’s national electricity transmission agency, which it has helped to grow into a world-class institution.
Youth and Sustainable Livelihood: Livelihood is a broader category than employment and more in line with the actual manner in which many young people organize themselves and their activities in order to survive. An adaptability and dynamic livelihood capability is the key to generating sustainable livelihoods. Dynamic livelihood capabilities can be thought of as enterprising behaviour in a developing context. The institutional challenge is to improve the effectiveness of the non-formal training system in order to mediate the latent potential of young people into productive social and economic activity, while understanding their current livelihood conditions and capabilities. Governments need to address key global policies that affect youth employment and livelihood. They need to take strategies that promote self-employment and entrepreneurship, school to work programmes and work-based training. A partnership with the private sector needs to be strengthened and the use of new information and communication technologies to support youth employment and training must be encouraged. The youth themselves must be empowered to generate the solutions to youth employment and their best practices and success stories must be acknowledged at all levels to support further replication of such initiatives from the grassroots to the global level.
A livelihood comprises the capabilities, assets and activities required for a means of living. It is sustainable when it can cope with and recover from stresses and shocks and still maintain or enhance its capabilities and assets both now and in the future, while not undermining the natural resource base.
The creation of sustainable livelihoods has become an important factor in sustainable development, particularly in developing countries and among disadvantaged populations. More support should be given to the promotion and development of economical and environmental sustainable youth livelihoods. Sustainable development requires an explicit consideration of future generations. Youth will inherit many of the environmental, economic and social problems created over the past decades and incorporating their opinions and concerns into policies at all levels is critical to sustainable development. The capacity of young people to address sustainability issues and become leaders in the 21st century is also critical.
Concerns of Young People is Critical: Addressing the concerns of young people is critical to the success of sustainable development programmes because they are the current and future leaders of our communities. Encouraging civic involvement and investing in youth’s key concerns must be an urgent priority of Governments and Civil Society. Recent major international conferences have addressed issues surrounding youth livelihoods development. However the resolutions that emerged from these conferences have, in some areas, failed to be sufficiently acted upon. Therefore it is up to us the youth, to take actions consistent with the commitment made by Governments in these world conference.
The capacity of each society to progress is based, among other elements, on its capacity to incorporate the contribution and responsibility of youth in the building and designing of its future. In addition to their intellectual contribution and ability to mobilize support, young people bring unique perspectives that need to be taken into account. Youth organizations can be important forums for helping young people to develop the skills necessary for effective youth participation in society.
India and Human Development: Human Development is considered to be a very important aspect of a country’s progress. A nation’s efforts towards enhancing women and children’s health, nutrition and education and also its commitment to resolve social issues like child labour, illiteracy and poverty is relevant in measuring its development. India’s concern for children is evident in the constitutional provisions, policies, programmes and legislation. But, for a nation with 160 million children of less than 6 years of age, the task of reaching out to them is indeed mammoth. The New Economic Policy (NEP) under the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) has created further hurdles by way of scaling down of child development projects, changing patterns of financial resources and changing composition of child development programmes ( Saleth 1992). Further, the NEP has also brought about changes in the labour market in terms of increase of contract labour and feminisation of labour. With nearly a 100 million women in labour force, spread across various sectors of occupations and in diverse regions, it calls for innovation, flexibility and variations in the programmes for women and children. Thus child care programmes have to serve the intersecting needs of women and children. For the child it supplements the care provided by family through its health nutrition, stimulation and pre-school activities. Very significantly it would play a role in releasing young girls from child care tasks.
External Professionals in Public Policy-Making
Growing Complexity of Public Affairs: An important impetus for integration of non-governmental professionals in public policy-making process has been the increasing complexity and sophistication of public affairs. The affairs of the twenty-first century government is both continuously expanding and growing more complex. Compared to a few decades earlier, there are many variables and stakeholders in most public issues. Issues like trade negotiations, climate change, human rights, etc. have only made governmental decision-making more complex. Furthermore, in a fast globalizing India with an increasing international role, government’s policies are scrutinized not only by domestic stakeholders but also by the international community. Policy formulation in this environment can no more be done by generalist civil servants but requires experts. The government is responding to the same, although in an ad hoc manner, through lateral hiring.
This phenomenon is discernable not only in the many lateral appointments enumerated in the previous post, but also borne out in many governmental studies and statements. Elaborating on the changing nature of public administration, the Second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) said that there is a need to recognize the complex challenges of modern administration in many sectors like policing, justice delivery, education, healthcare, transportation, land management among others. In the questionnaires distributed by the ARC and the Sixth Central Pay Commission to elicit public opinion, both the Commissions had posed pointed questions regarding the relevance and importance of allowing lateral entry into the government. The ARC concluded that there is almost a universal acknowledgment of the need to induct outstanding skills and talent from outside the government to staff some positions in government departments. Even the Pay Commission recommended a shift from career-based to post-based selection in the higher echelons of Government in order to get the best domain based expertise.
Earlier, even the Committee on Civil Service Reforms, 2004, had emphasized the importance of government officials gaining NGO and private sector experience. It had recommended that after a period of ten years in service civil servants should be encouraged to go on a sabbatical to acquire additional knowledge and update their skills including a lateral move to NGOs or the private sector and return to government without losing their seniority.
Young Population Demanding Greater Political Accountability and Participation: Increasing use of non-governmental professionals is also influenced by demand for greater political accountability and participation driven by a younger population. The demographic profile of the country is seeing a huge change with the “youth bulge” – the working population is more than the dependent population with a greater number of younger people. This younger population, the primary stakeholder in India’s future, is demanding greater transparency in the government and more participative governance. The spread of internet, telecommunication and media is also acting as catalyst of political awareness and accountability. This demand for greater accountability implies higher scrutiny of governmental programmes and acts as an impetus for smart and sensible policies that are effective in dealing with complex public problems. As already noted the government is aware of the paucity of specialist policy-makers and is increasingly looking for external support.
Not only is young India demanding better policies, it is also keen on being part of the policy-making process. The present Indian growth story is riding on the strength on this large young population’s rising expectations which has influenced the demand for more say in governmental affairs. Being part of this segment, I personally believe that young Indians are no more satisfied with mere periodic exercise of franchise but also want to engage with and in the government. Talking about his motivation to work with the government, a 25-year-old investment banker (who quit his job to work with UIDAI) said, “Young people, educated, highly mobile and intelligent, want to do things that will impact the country while they are still in the prime of their lives…A similar sentiment was echoed by our very own Arghva Sengupta (who assisted the Indian Parliament with inputs on Nuclear Civil Liability Bill) when he said that his interest arose from a desire to be engaged with India and its policies.
Clearly, there is a strong urge to be part of government’s development programmes but not necessarily the bureaucracy. The tremendous growth of the economy means that the governmental affairs and regulation are expanding which offers great scope for creative problem-solving. The nature of the task is in itself very appealing which is drawing youngsters towards governmental work, but they do not necessarily want to be part of the government. The attractiveness of governmental work is borne out by the fact that youngsters want to work on governmental problem for strategic reasons. Many look at government work as a great learning experience which will enhance their prospects in the private sector. Despite the allure of such work, there is an unwillingness to spend many years in the junior rungs of the government subjugating oneself to the whims and fancies of the seniors in civil service, especially when many lucrative career options have opened up for these youngsters in the private sector. However, there are a number of youngsters who have given up plum jobs in the private sector and international organizations to work on governmental policy-making in various capacities for a variety of reasons. The underlying point is that young Indians today are keen about the governmental sector and are forcing themselves through lateral entry into the Parliament, government departments, planning bodies, regulatory authorities, etc.
1. Responses sent to the Sixth Pay Commission to reflect these aspirations of the general population too. The Commission had asked a specific question – whether there should be lateral movement from government to non-government jobs and vice versa. Over sixty percent of respondents from across the country preferred lateral movement into the government.
The United Nation and Youth Participation: The United Nations has long recognized the important role youth play in the continuing development of the world in which they live. The United Nations drew worldwide attention to the importance of youth in observing the 1985 International Youth Year: Participation, Development and Peace. Acknowledging the need to expand the opportunities for young people to participate fully in their society, the General Assembly adopted in 1995 the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and beyond as a framework for nations to increase their capacities to address youth needs and issues.
Youth in the Asia-Pacific region constitute a significant proportion of the population, highlighting the importance of fully integrating youth into society through youth participation. Youth, according to the United Nations definition, is the age group between 15 and 24 years old, which represents approximately one-fifth of the total population of the UNESCAP region. The underlying premise of youth participation is that in encouraging youth to participate more fully in society, youth are essentially encouraged to be more knowledgeable on their rights and become more responsible citizens. It is envisaged that once young people have the opportunity to realize their potential, be respected by society and fully participate in their community, consistent with their human rights and responsibilities, society at large will benefit. Youth is therefore the key to the future that thus places them at the core of human resources development (HRD).
UNESCAP recognized the importance of youth participation as a priority in adopting resolution 52/4[3] on “Promoting human resources development among youth in Asia and the Pacific” in April 1996. This was in response to the United Nations General Assembly adoption of the World Programme Action for Youth, which highlighted ten priority areas including “the full and effective participation of youth in society and decision-making.”
UNESCAP notes that there are three key issues in providing a voice for youth in society: access and benefit, ability to influence and equity. These three principles are ultimately the pillars of youth participation. These foundations refer to the rights of all youth to have access to opportunities and to play an active role in all spheres of society. This applies to all youth including girls and young women, rural youth, youth with special needs, and other marginalized youth. In many situations, youth tend to be the first group to be denied certain opportunities. An apparent example is in employment where youth are often the first to lose their jobs in any restructuring effort. The recent economic crisis has highlighted that young people have a disproportionately high record of unemployment. In addition, young people often do not have easy access to information. In the Asia-Pacific region, this is especially true for information on sexual and reproductive health as well as access to appropriate services.
UNESCAP is also advocating that there be a genuine shift in thought and that youth is recognized as active participants and agents of change, capable of making decisions, which affect their lives and society as a whole. Indeed, youth are capable of shaping the world today, not just tomorrow.
The problems facing youth challenge today’s societies and future generations as well. They include: limited resources available for funding youth programmes and activities; inequities in social, economic and political conditions; gender discrimination; high levels of youth unemployment; armed conflict and confrontation; continuing deterioration of the global environment; increasing incidence of disease, hunger and malnutrition; changes in the role of the family; and inadequate opportunity for education and training.
It is critical that youth concerns and issues are understood and addressed. The best vehicle to genuinely understand youth is by giving them a voice through facilitation of their active participation, and hence empowerment, in society. UNESCAP’s commitment to fully integrate youth in society is highlighted in its decision to develop youth participation indicators (YPIs), as called for by the Asia-Pacific Meeting on Human Resources Development for Youth and the Pacific in 1996. At that meeting, the governments of the Asia-Pacific region urged UNESCAP “to develop a series of youth participation indicators to facilitate the analysis of, and thereby promote youth participation in the planning, implementation and evaluation of national youth and related policies. These YPIs are intended to address the problems that impede effective programmes and policies that encourage youth participation, namely.
1. Lack of standardized data on youth development and participation to serve as a basis for policy-making and planning; and
2. Inadequate analytical basis for national policy-making and planning for youth.
Bearing in mind the goal to effectively promote youth participation, this Manual contains four chapters and two annexes. Chapter 1 introduces the framework behind the principle of youth participation and the value of youth participation indicators. Chapter 2 provides the foundation and rationale behind the importance of youth participation, which stems from the need to facilitate young persons to fulfil their responsibilities to society and to realize their rights at citizens. In Chapter 3, indicators are introduced to help measure the existence and levels of youth participation. Their value is highlighted through a case study on adolescent reproductive health. Chapter 4 supplies recommendations for policy makers and programmes managers at the local and national level. Next, Annex 1 provides examples of best practices in the Asia-Pacific region in promoting youth participation. Lastly, in Annex 2 references for further study are given, including suggested publications and web sites.
While youth in developing countries (particularly young women) will have improved access to more relevant education and training to develop their improved skill sets and self-motivation required to generate and sustain viable livelihoods, much more needs to be done. With better policy and programming congruence among education, training and credit provision, youth with enhanced skill sets, will be better equipped to access credit, develop and sustain self-employment initiatives. More effective and relevant education and training will result in more productive employment in micro and small businesses, particularly in the informal sector, larger enterprises that seek enterprising self-motivated employees, and government and civil society that seek enterprising employees. The improved skills and self-motivation of the emerging generation will contribute to increased social and economic productivity of communities. Improved skills will also be conducive to fewer social and political problems that are based on youth unemployment and lack of initiative. Overall, improved skills will contribute to enhanced employment opportunities and the practical generation of sustainable livelihoods for young women and men.
Canada and Youth Policy and Programs.
Reflecting on the Process: Successful Approaches to Research and Policy Development: While the main focus was to identify priority issues facing Aboriginal youth, a significant part of the discussion during the half-day event centred on ways to improve research practices and policy development by making them more collaborative and inclusive. Roundtable participants expressed the need for both research and policy making to recognize the value of traditional knowledge and they encouraged a stronger shift away from research on and about Aboriginal people to one done with, by, and for them.
Recommendations for Research
Improving data quality: Effective policy research in the realm of Aboriginal issues continues to be hampered by significant data gaps, particularly in fields such as education and health. In a context where policy makers are increasingly required to demonstrate effectiveness and value for money as a prerequisite to securing investment in new policy initiatives, addressing these gaps through greater investment, collaboration among stakeholders, and enhanced administrative data collection practices is essential.
Using a positive approach: The roundtable participants emphasized the importance of investigating successful practices and doing research that is focused on strengths and success. By objectively evaluating and understanding what is working in communities and why it is working, research will be better positioned to support sound policy making and program implementation.
Develop Aboriginal research capacity: To help young Aboriginal researchers develop and thrive, one avenue suggested by Dr. Pauline Tremblay is to network with First Nations’ universities. Ms. Sheila Regehr also suggested the need to build 14 capacities at the ground level by sharing what works and what doesn’t. Encouraging young Aboriginal scholars is key to building this capacity.
Engaging local knowledge and investing in community capacity were the two strongest recommendations made by roundtable participants. They also emphasized the importance of working holistically and targeting support where it is most needed. For this to happen, coordinating government policies at all levels and tailoring programs to the conditions prevailing in particular communities and places are key.
Investing in Youth
Ensuring that young people are adequately prepared to become active and engaged citizens is a key preoccupation for policy-makers in Canada and around the world. Started in 2007, this project has examined the changing realities, issues and challenges of today’s youth, including new conditions and aspects of vulnerability, as well as their implications for public policy. It has developed a knowledge base and framework, by identifying methodological strategies and examining new international thinking and policy approaches with a view to supporting analysis of, and developing policy responses to, emerging youth-related issues in Canada. The main body of work under the Investing in Youth project is scheduled to be completed in early 2010.
Summary of Canada Problems: Over the course of the half-day roundtable event, participants discussed themes of educational achievement, family and community well-being, and criminal justice, explaining the benefits of policy development for Aboriginal youth in each of these areas. They addressed not only the “what” of the issue, but also “how” to ethically research issues and develop sound policies that can be implemented through relevant programs.
In addition to the emerging issues, a number of key messages surfaced repeatedly throughout the dialogue:
1. Consider the rich diversity of Canada’s Aboriginal populations in research, policy, and service delivery.
2. Take a strengths-based approach. Track successes and celebrate what is working. There is much to be learned from positive examples. Identify what works at the individual and the community level and disseminate ideas for promising practices.
3. Recognize the value of Indigenous knowledge. Openness to other forms of knowledge, cultural competence, and understanding the importance of social factors are crucial for research to be policy-relevant and for policies to be effective.
4. Engage First Nations, Inuit, and Métis youth in finding the answers. Ensure that these youth have a voice in developing meaningful solutions.
In order to begin to make a difference, policies need to be community- and place based and developed in relation with the communities that are affected, in a process that allows policy makers to tap into local capacity and local knowledge. The developed policies and programs need to be holistic and targeted to where they are most needed.
The United Nations Programme on Youth: While the United Nations Programme on Youth of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs is the only part of the United Nations Secretariat with the explicit mandate to address youth issues, the United Nations system, as a whole, supports youth development with a diverse range of programmes and activities. The United Nations youth agenda is guided by the World Program for Action for Youth (WPAY). Adopted by the General Assembly, the WPAY provides a policy framework and practical guidelines for national action and international support to improve the situation of young people around the world. The WPAY covers fifteen youth priority areas and contains proposals for action for each of these areas.
With activities ranging from data collection and analysis to direct country support to Governments, civil society and other stakeholders, the United Nations system is well-positioned to provide comprehensive, specialized assistance in support of global youth development. Particular attention is being given by many UN system offices to areas such as health, education and employment, and the special circumstances of girls and young women—areas which present persistent challenges to youth development in many parts of the world.

United Nations Programme on Youth (UNPY): The United Nations Programme on Youth is the focal point within the United Nations Secretariat on issues related to youth. It is the only part of the Secretariat that is mandated exclusively to deal with youth issues. The Programme is part of the Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD) of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). The Programme on Youth is, in particular, responsible for monitoring progress and constraints in addressing the objectives of the World Programme of Action for Youth. The Programme is also charged with playing a lead role in inter-agency consultations on youth development.
REPORTING ON YOUTH DEVELOPMENT: The Programme on Youth conducts research and analysis on youth and provides information to Governments, youth, civil society and other parts of the United Nations system on issues and activities relating to youth development. It publishes the biannual World Youth Report, which presents analytical discussions on selected topics related to youth development. Taking a regional approach, the 2007 Report, for example, examined the opportunities and challenges that youth face during their transition to adulthood. Through Reports of the Secretary-General and other documentation for the General Assembly and the Commission on Social Development, the Youth Programme also contributes to informing Governments and the international community
about key developments in the area of youth and, especially, on progress made in the 15 priority areas of the WPAY. The Programme services the Commission on Social Development and the Third Committee of the General Assembly, providing draft texts for consideration of these bodies and assisting with negotiations of resolutions on youth.
To promote information sharing on activities within and outside the UN system on youth issues, the Programme on Youth also produces Youth Flash, an electronic newsletter. Youth Flash includes an in-depth feature on a topical youth issue and provides an overview of youth-related activities organized by the entire UN system.
INTERNATIONAL YOUTH DAY: International Youth Day is commemorated every year on 12 August. The Programme on Youth selects a theme for the day in consultation with youth organizations, the Department of Public Information and other UN system offices and agencies. It also organizes a commemoration of the Day at United Nations Headquarters in New York. The Programme encourages youth around the world to organize activities to raise awareness about the situation of youth in their country. Youth are encouraged to send in a description of their planned activities to The most creative activities are featured on the Programme’s website to provide a sense of how International Youth Day is being commemorated around the world and to encourage other youth to take action.
PARTNERSHIPS AND COLLABORATION WITH CIVIL SOCIETY AND YOUTH ORGANIZATIONS: A major part of the work of the UN Programme on Youth involves working with civil society, especially youth-led organizations that are working with young people, particularly at the grassroots level, to address various areas of the World Programme of Action for Youth. The Programme on Youth cooperates with and assists these youth-led organizations. It arranges consultative meetings, briefings and other discussions with them to guide their work, and it also gathers their inputs and feeds them into intergovernmental discussions. Young people, both as individual experts and as representatives of organizations, are also involved in Expert Group Meetings and other substantive discussions organized by the Programme on Youth.
TECHNICAL COOPERATION: The Programme collaborates closely with the Technical Cooperation Unit of the Division for Social Policy and Development. The Unit works directly with Governments and other stakeholders to translate international agreements—such as the World Programme of Action for Youth—into practical strategies and projects at the regional and national levels. The Technical Cooperation Unit draws on the expertise of the Programme on Youth and, in turn, feeds experiences gained from the field into the Programme’s work in support of the intergovernmental policy development process. Cooperation is often initiated at the request of a Government or UN counterpart, and technical cooperation advisers work closely with other parts of the UN system. In 2007/2008, activities of the technical cooperation unit that relate to youth included providing support for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Young People in Iberoamerica; working to integrate youth concerns into poverty reduction strategies in Africa; and enhancing capacity to deal effectively with issues related to illicit small arms and violence.
ENSURING YOUTH PARTICIPATION: An important dimension of the Programme on Youth’s work relates to strengthening the participation of youth in decision-making processes at all levels in order to increase their contribution to national and international development. The Programme provides advisory services to other United Nations system offices and other stakeholders on how to ensure active youth engagement in their initiatives.
Through publications, advocacy and the provision of advisory services, the Programme on Youth facilitates the inclusion of youth representatives in Member States’ official delegations to the General Assembly and other intergovernmental bodies. Youth delegates frequently deliver official statements on behalf of the youth in their countries, and some negotiate actively on the text of resolutions. The Programme provides information, advisory and orientation services to youth delegates before and during their stay in New York to facilitate their effective participation at UN meetings.
Various activities of the Programme aim to support and encourage youth initiatives and their meaningful engagement in the development dialogue. The Programme supports and encourages youth to plan and carry out projects in support of youth development. A toolkit, Making commitments matter, for example, guides youth organizations on how to evaluate their Governments’ efforts to implement the WPAY. The website of the Programme on Youth provides a wealth of information to support youth participation and it also provides an opportunity for youth to provide feedback to
the Programme.
Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA): Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW). The Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW) of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs focuses on promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls of all ages. The Division supports the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995, which seeks to promote and protect the full enjoyment of all human rights and the fundamental freedoms of all women throughout their life cycle. DAW also supports the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and its Optional Protocol. The Division strives to promote the mainstreaming of a gender perspective both within and outside the United Nations system.
RATIONALE FOR YOUTH-RELATED WORK: DAW examines issues that affect young women and girls in the context of the 12 critical areas of concern of the Beijing Platform for Action as well as emerging issues, many of which coincide with the priority areas of the World Programme of Action for Youth. Among the areas addressed are education, employment, poverty and hunger, health, care-giving, environment, sport, participation in decision-making, information and communication technology, HIV/AIDS, and armed conflict.
RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS: DAW conducts research and develops policy options to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment. The Division has a publications programme, which includes resources for Governments, civil society and other stakeholders to enhance work on gender equality, women’s human rights and the empowerment of women.
YOUTH AND THE COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN: A major area of DAW’s work is to provide substantive support to the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and other intergovernmental bodies working to advance the global policy agenda on gender equality. In this context, DAW covers issues related to the improvement of the situation of young women and girls. The annual sessions of the Commission on the Status of Women provide space for young women and girls to participate actively in informing global policymaking on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. At its fifty-first session in 2007, the Commission on the Status of Women addressed “The elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against the girl child” as its priority theme. Over 200 girls participated in the session and were involved in official interactive meetings of the Commission, such as the High-level Roundtable on the priority theme, and other CSW-related events and activities. The 2007 Commission’s agreed conclusions on the priority theme include recommendations for the development of programmes and projects aimed at young women and girls affected by poverty, armed conflict, HIV/AIDS, violence and discrimination.
In preparation for the annual sessions of the Commission on the Status of Women, the Division for the Advancement of Women holds an online discussion of the priority theme to be considered by the Commission. The discussions are open to all and give girls and young women a platform from which to share their views on issues affecting them.
Economic Commission for Europe (ECE): The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) strives to foster sustainable economic growth among its 56 Member States located in the European Union (EU), non-EU Western and Eastern Europe, South-East Europe, Central Asia and North America. All these countries dialogue and cooperate under the aegis of ECE on economic and sect oral issues. To this end, ECE provides a forum for analysis, policy advice and assistance to Governments. Through the development of conventions, norms and standards, ECE aims to harmonize action and facilitate exchanges between Member States. This process results in consumer guarantees of safety and quality, helps protect the environment, and facilitates trade and the greater integration of member countries at the regional level and also with the global economy. The key areas of expertise of the ECE are economic cooperation and integration, energy, environment, housing and land management, population, statistics, timber and forests, trade and transport.
RATIONALE FOR YOUTH-RELATED WORK: ECE recognizes that young people represent an asset upon which the future of any society depends. The ECE region is home to about 179 million youth, representing approximately 15 per cent of the total population. In many countries of the ECE region, young people are facing an erosion of their opportunities to gain education, employable skills, and a decent job and income. It is estimated that 18 million young people in the countries in transition and emerging market economies are neither at school nor in employment. Concerned with this situation, ECE launched a youth entrepreneurship programme in the early 2000s which led to two Regional Youth Forums in 2002 and 2003. Currently, ECE’s key engagement on youth is in the area of road safety initiatives, in recognition of the fact that road accidents are the leading cause of death for youth. In addition, ECE focuses on improving knowledge for policymaking on issues that directly affect youth.
GENERATIONS AND GENDER PROGRAMME: ECE is coordinating the Generations and Gender Programme (GGP) of data collection and research. GGP is a system of national Generations and Gender Surveys (GGS) and contextual databases, which aims at improving the knowledge base for policymaking in UNECE countries. The surveys conducted in this programme cover the age range from 18 to 79 years. Many of the issues studied, however, are specifically relevant for young people, such as the processes of family formation and home-leaving and a broad range of their determinants, including education, the labour market, housing, intergenerational relationships and contraception. The GGP contextual database, which includes age-specific data on population processes and employment, is a comparative collection of around 200 variables on the national and regional level for each participating country. These data serve to complement the micro-level data collected in the GGS.
Ten Steps to National Youth Policy Formulation: Many countries have established youth policies, using the World Programmes of Action for youth to the year 2000 and Beyond as a guide. In this process, it is imperative to note that the WPAY mentions that governments and youth organizations should promote an “active and visible policy of mainstreaming a gender perspective in all policies and programmes”. In the process of formulating any youth policy, specifically a national plan, governments and other stakeholders may consider the following guidelines:
1. Participation for an inclusive process: involve and empower all stakeholders’ right from the beginning in the design, implementation and evaluation of youth policy. The participation of youth, NGOs, all related government departments and levels, as well as United Nations agencies can contribute to the success of the policy. The participation of these actors facilitates the creation of a policy that best fits the needs and capacities of youth as a distinct population group, and helps to foster support and understanding of the policy objectives, which are necessary for the implementation.
2. Know the situation and conduct a needs analysis: make profiles of the development situation of young people in your country. The priority areas for youth development contained in the WPAY could serve as a means for organizing this analysis. As the design of youth policy should aim at ensuring the full enjoyment by young people of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, these principles should also inform the analysis of the situation of youth. To sketch an accurate picture of the situation to influence youth policy, it is vital to open a meaningful dialogue with youth on the questions that affect their lives, from the initial planning stages of policy through monitoring and evaluation. In conducting a needs analysis, it is important to make distinctions according to age, sex, rural/urban, education level and family income to identify the most vulnerable groups and to set priorities accordingly. Frequently, data on funding and spending is divided into the two categories of children and adults; tracking the financial resources devoted specifically to youth can improve the impact of the investment.
3. Define vulnerable groups: as part of the needs assessment and situation analysis, determine what groups of youth live in vulnerable situations created by either current circumstances, political conditions or long histories of social exclusion and discrimination. The WPAY and international standards of human rights apply to all people equally, but to meaningfully commit to this principle, policy makers should determine if there are youth who are invisible to existing services or whose needs are not reflected in the national youth policy itself. In some cases, ignoring these groups can impede national economic growth in the long run. Capturing the situation of vulnerable youth can sometimes require expanded data collection.
4. Understand your resources: know what you have and what you need to invest in youth by making a profile of the available and the needed resources in the country that are specific to youth. Resources may include policies, programmes and financial means of the government, NGOs, youth organizations and private initiatives, as well as existing networks, expertise and legal frameworks. Resources also describe the time and energy of different institutions and branches of government devoted to youth. Defining resources also involves examining less tangible elements such as factors which hinder access to services such as poor information, unaffordability, and the trust between youth and service providers. Above all, resources are determined by budgetary allocation. It is necessary to compare the actual needs of young people to the stock of available resources and to make sure costs of policy are taken into account in local and national budgets.
5. Establish a budget allocated for implementation of youth policy: even though youth policy is a cross-sect oral development field that requires action within several departments, ministries and agencies, it is central that the established lead agency have a specific budget for youth policy implementation that can distributed by responsible actors. Failing in this role may lead to a loss of motivation from all the actors, including youth groups, involved in designing and drafting the vision of the youth policy.
6. Learn from past experience: study past successes and failures. Knowledge of what works should be documented and a repository of good practices established; good practices are ways of doing things that have proven effective in one situation and may have applicability in another. Many governments have developed successful policies and run a variety of youth development projects. This research and expertise should be made available to all parts of government. The exchange of experiences can reach beyond the scope of government and may also include civil society and youth organizations.
7. Develop a clear vision to implement youth policy: develop a national action plan based on the needs of youth and the available budget. The national plan or youth policy should be known and understood on the national and local levels to create the necessary political and societal commitment. National policies and programmes may need to be translated to the regional and/or local level, and directed to the specific needs of youth in that area. Establishing and maintaining communication channels improves relationships with beneficiaries and with those who are implementing the policy. These channels can facilitate dissemination of information, but they also exist as a two-way street; experiences from ‘the field’ can enrich a government’s understanding of the situation of youth. Political commitment is also necessary to successfully adopt and enact a national youth policy. Advocacy and outreach are necessary to inform citizens of new programmes and of existing legislation that affect their well-being.
8. Create an institutional structure conducive to implementation of youth policy: establish a lead agency (or focal points in different government ministries) as part of an effective structure to coordinate youth policies. Youth development implies a cross-sect oral approach. A lead agency creates coherence between implemented policies and programmes and ensures coordination between departments and ministries; for example, some programmes may require the collaboration of the ministries of justice, education, and labour. The agency can be a ministry or a department within a ministry with an aim of coordinating the activities on youth matters in order to secure the effective integration of youth policy into national development planning.
9. Engage in partnerships for action: though most youth-oriented policies are led by governments, their design, implementation and evaluation are all dependent on the participation of other stakeholders, chiefly: youth, civil society, the private sector, parents, and sometimes UN agencies and donors, and the international community. Cooperation, institutional support and partnerships contribute to forming more solid investments in youth. Partnerships should be guided by the goal of promoting youth themselves as valuable assets and effective partners. See Part II for more information on partnerships.
10. Increase knowledge and design better programmes through monitoring and evaluation: redefine goals and objectives according to new trends and needs in young people’s lives and according to the achievements and shortcomings of existing programmes. Monitoring may be defined as the routine tracking of priority information about a programme and its intended outcomes, while evaluation is the set of activities designed to determine a programme’s effect or value. Youth can benefit from participating in these exercises. Specific questions related to the needs and aspirations of youth should be included in population censuses or national surveys. In addition, qualitative indicators concerning perceptions, attitudes and aspirations could be developed through special surveys and studies.
USA: Youth Problems, Programs and Policy: Basic premise of American education is: The fundamental task of education is the apprenticeship of liberty, learning to be free. Of course it should not be responsive only to one’s single self and its desires. Participatory freedom rising from the realization that we are parts of a whole, involved in a range of relationships, extending from the family to the local community, to the society at large. Freedom signifies the capacity to choose and the power to act, neither one of which is a natural endowment; they have to be nurtured, they have to be taught. And they require open spaces with vistas on alternative realities, on what might be, on what should be. For John Dewey, “The possibility of freedom is deeply grounded in our very beings. It is one with our individuality, our being uniquely what we are and not imitators or parasites of others. But, like other possibilities, this possibility has to be actualized,” and then, he said, it can be actualized only within and by means of surrounding conditions, by aware engagement with others in the natural and the human world.

Children are now being given iPhones and computers before they can reach the cookie jar. Kids from the age group of 18-30 are going to have it rough, but that is the demographic that can also make some change if we get our crap together before it’s too late. Dramatic change will be the only thing that saves America. Can American youth take the reins of our country in the coming years and make a positive change?
1) The youth of America feels trapped within a world of MTV bull snot, materialistic items, and status among their peers. For these reasons it’s my belief that most will not take any action to bring change. And most also lack the general knowledge to make any constructive, beneficial changes.

2) The youth that are educated enough about the situation and want to make a difference via protest and/or revolution of some kind are scared, as well as leaderless. I can’t help anyone get over fear other than to say there is nothing to fear from government. The government as an entity cannot hurt us if we stand united for a single cause with one voice. If we decided to march on Washington with 1 million people and tell them we’re done with it, they would have to listen. This is where Leadership must come into the equation, and which is where I feel I can be of most help. Along with the protests in Europe there are the cyber attacks taking place in response to the Wikileaks gag order. The efforts of the US Government to silence WL should be a sign that they are scared of us finding out the truth. They should be even more scared of what will happen should 1 million people march up to the Capitol and say enough is enough.

If we used our bodies and our voices, instead of our computers and our keyboards, the message would ring clear throughout the country:
The Importance of Teaching Values: While parents are seen as having the ultimate responsibility for imparting values to their children, schools are seen as having an important supportive role. All segments of the community agree that it is a part of public education to impart the values that the next generation needs.
• Large majorities, over 70%, of parents, teachers and economic leaders agree that values such as responsibility, honesty, tolerance of others and good work habits are “absolutely essential” for schools to teach. (Public Agenda Report “Assignment Incomplete: The Unfinished Business of Education Reform,” 1995)
• Students rate values like hard work, good work habits and honesty and tolerance of others among the most important things for high schools to teach. (Public Agenda Report “Getting By: What American Teenagers Really Think About Their Schools,” 1997)
• Approximately half of America’s teachers say that values are more important to teach than academics, with another 9% finding values equally important. (Public Agenda Report ” Given the Circumstances: Teachers Talk About Public Education Today,” 1996)
Educational Aspirations: The educational aspirations of high school students are high and on the rise. Over the decade from 1982, a college education came to be seen as a necessity.
• In 1992, nearly seven out of ten high school seniors said they hoped to graduate from college, as compared to only 39% in 1982. (Youth Indicators, 1996)
• The desire for post-secondary education cut across gender, ethnic and socioeconomic lines. In every subgroup, the vast majority aspire to more than a high school education. Even among high school seniors in the lowest performance quintile, 87% felt a high school diploma was not enough and wanted to obtain at least some further education. ( Ibid.)
There is a realistic basis for this level of aspiration. The earnings gap between high school graduates and college graduates has increased substantially. In 1980, males with four or more years of college earned 19% more than high school graduates. By 1993, this gap had widened to 57%, and the trend continues to climb. (Youth Indicators, 1996)
Job skills and job training: Americans recognize that a significant problem for American youth is a lack of job training and job skills and see a need to increase services to youth that would better prepare them for employment.
• Two out of three Americans see a lack of job skills as a serious problem for young adults aged 17-21 in their communities (Yankelovich Partners, “Young Adults At Risk Survey,” 1995)
• Fewer than one out of four (23%) consider the quality of education and job training of young people to be excellent or good. (Peter Hart, Council on Competitiveness, 1991)
• Many more see a need for more job training (67%) and job placement (62%) services. (Yankelovich Partners, “Young Adults At Risk Survey,” 1995)
• An analysis of the United States as compared to six other industrial democracies found it at or near the bottom in the effectiveness of its employment services and school-to-work programs (“Why People Don’t Trust Government,” Nye, Zelikow & King, Harvard, 1997 p.72)
• When asked who should take the lead in providing job training for youth, 43% named individuals and businesses, 35% put the emphasis on government programs and funding and 20% volunteered that both should be involved. (CNN, USA Today/ Gallup survey, 1995)
Moral Values: One of the most serious concerns in society today is a decline in moral values. The public see declining values as a key component in major social and political issues. Attitudes toward young people are framed within the perception of a decline in the family’s ability to transmit successfully the values of respect, responsibility and civility to their children.
• When asked the source of the most serious problems in our society, 51% attribute them mainly to a decline in moral values; only 37% said they stem from economic and financial pressures on the family. (NBC News/Wall Street Journal ,1996)
• A 1996 DYG study found that 87% of Americans (up from 76% in 1994) shared the conviction that our nation’s social morality has eroded. This belief is seen across gender, age and race differences.
• The proportion that sees a decline in family values increased from 62% in 1989 to 76% in 1995. (“American Family Values,” Michaels Opinion Research, 1995)
Teenage Pregnancy: When President Clinton identified teen pregnancy as the nation’s most serious social problem in his 1995 State of the Union Address, his words resonated with the public. Teen pregnancy is seen as a symptom of the erosion of family cohesiveness and is closely associated with out-of-wedlock births. One of the strongest arguments of opponents of the welfare system was that it encouraged teenagers to have kids out of wedlock, a belief shared by six out of ten Americans. (Public Agenda, “The Values We Live By: What Americans Want from Welfare Reform,” 1996)
Youth Crime: What adults think about young people is influenced by their concern about crime and their perception that young people have a heavy share in the increase in crime over the past few decades.
• Despite the fact that crime rates have shown a recent decrease, a 1996 survey found that crime still topped the list of important problems facing the country today, more of a concern than jobs and unemployment. (CBS News/ New York Times,1996)
• The public is concerned that youth crime is on the rise. 86% believe that crimes committed by teenagers in this country had increased from last year; only 2% saw a decrease. (Ibid.)
• 81% see teen-age violence as a big problem in most of the country, though not as bad in their own community. (Ibid.)
The “get tough” attitude to crime in general carries over to youth, with widespread support for more stringent policies for juvenile criminals.
• The large majority of Americans (83%) would mete out the same punishment to juveniles convicted of their second or third crimes as to adults with comparable conviction records. (Gallup for CNN/USA Today, 1994)
• In a 1994 Gallup survey, 61% favoured the death penalty for a teenager who is convicted of murder, up from 24% in 1957.
At the same time, the public also supports early intervention programs for high-risk youth and spending federal funds to provide positive social programs for poor youth.
• 65% of respondents to a 1994 Gallup crime survey favoured the use of federal funds for social programs such as midnight basketball and other activities for poor children.
• Given a choice of methods for reducing crime in this country, 64 % favoured putting money and effort into preventive methods such as better education and job training over improving law enforcement (27%). (Wirthlin Group, 1994)
In the end, the Indian Youth serves as a beacon of light in ending the environment crisis. They can serve as an effective force in encouraging people to redo their lifestyles and prod stakeholders to make a concrete plan of action. A well-thought framework, strong research armour and a concerted effort among different youth-led initiatives are key steps to strengthen the youth‘s influence in society. Through these, the Indian Youth will be ready to step up to the sustainability challenge.
Considering that today’s youth will be the tomorrow’s green entrepreneurs we need to cultivate moral and ethical values regarding business and the environment. The establishment and design of companies, without taking into account the impact that they will have on the environment, is what the present generation of young green entrepreneurs must avoid. Our companies must, to a large extent, be accountable for the pollution that they generate. We cannot continue to think, as we have done until now, that the responsibility for keeping the environment healthy and free of garbage is the exclusive purview of the State. It is not enough to label our packages with phrases such as let us protect the environment, recyclable container, and environmentally responsible company. We must instead contribute a part of our capital, along with the State, to developing clean technologies.
In addition to the above two reasons, shortcomings of the Indian bureaucracy in the nature corruption and institutional inertia against reform, ensure the continued use of external professionals in public policy-making in India in the days to come. In fact, in this emerging policy environment, questions are being raised over the wisdom of continuing with the virtual monopoly of civil services over all the positions in the government. The demand for change is coming from not only the general public but also within the civil service. In a recent survey of civil servants, fifty three percent of officers agreed with the idea of lateral entry at higher positions, and among those, twenty three percent strongly agreed. In comparison, thirty six percent of officers disagreed with this proposition with a mere thirteen percent strongly disagreeing.
Going a step further, the ARC stated that there is a need to institutionalize the process of induction of outside talent into the government. The various appointments, statements and surveys point that lateral entry of external professionals in public policy-making is here to stay. Institutionalizing the same through a formal process is certainly a good idea. The earlier the government brings in changes to formalize the process and give it an institutional shape, the better it is for the country.
India needs to go a long way to improve education system and content of education that can be applied on job and industry. Content of education should include personality development, communication skill and team work and team spirit. So that educated youth become employable.
Last but not the last problem to be addressed is to reduce drug abuse and alcoholism among youth. Enhancement of youth participation in politics and social services cannot be overemphasized,
• Department of Economic and Social Affairs
o United Nations Programme on Youth (UNPY)
o Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW)
o Division for Sustainable Development (DSD)
o Population Division (UNPD)
o Statistics Division (UNSD)
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