By Pooja Malhotra:
Today’s generation of youth has an unprecedented potential to improve the well-being of the entire human family. Yet with growing rates of youth unemployment, finding fulfilling work is the toughest challenge that young people, all around the globe, are facing. Thus, an estimated 27 million young people worldwide, including many who are highly educated, often migrate in search of better opportunities, better education and a better way of life. A large number of these young migrants have no immediate prospects and often land up in unacceptable situations and run the risk of exploitation, abuse & discrimination.
In recognition of the issues that are affecting our young population, the UN has designated 12th August as International Youth Day and this year’s theme was declared as Youth Migration: Moving Development Forward. The reason behind the theme is easy to understand -the idea is to support the 27 million young brave-hearts, who muster up the courage to leave their family & friends behind, and move to a new country in search for newer avenues.
Given the scarcity of employment opportunities, higher youth unemployment shouldn’t come as a surprise; neither should higher immigration rates. Youth unemployment in India, like most countries, has consistently been above the national average. In fact recent figures indicate that youth unemployment is soaring and is now virtually 50% more than the national average. The latest World Development Report by the World Bank states that India’s youth unemployment — as a percentage of the youth work force — was 9.9% for males and 11.3% for females in 2010.
The focus on youth migration is bound to increase awareness of opportunities as well as the associated risks of migration. This in-turn will help young people to make the right choice and take a well-informed decision to successfully resolve the issue of unemployment. However, in my opinion, encouraging young people to shift base to a new country in search of work may not be a long term solution.
Our governing bodies, institutions and organizations, need to fore-see the long term repercussions of this ongoing ‘brain drain’ of young talent. It could exacerbate to further talent shortage in our country and thus, hamper our economic growth. I strongly believe that employers, government, educators and young people need to work together to create a sustainable talent pipeline.
On the occasion of International Youth Day, let us all urge our government and our businesses & educational institutions to focus on working together to address youth unemployment. Let us take collaborative actions to help change the employment landscape for our youth. Living and working in another country can provide fantastic opportunities, better lifestyle and experiential learning for a young person. At the same time it also exposes us to greater risks, including racism, abuse, xenophobia, discrimination and human rights violations. So in order to make a real and lasting impact in addressing youth unemployment, we must look at the systemic issues causing joblessness and address these at country level. Without urgent measures, we risk creating a “lost generation” of squandered talent and dreams.
Young men and women are not passive beneficiaries; we are equal and effective partners.
Is it possible to change the employment landscape of our country, without being uprooted from our motherland?
Is it possible to develop ourselves as responsible participants in democracy?
Can the upcoming elections be seen as a space or young people to engage meaningfully and build themselves while engaging in nation building?
How can we make this happen?
On behalf of ComMutiny – the Youth Collective and Pravah, we are happy to invite you for My Space: My Unmanifesto – An event being held on 19th August, 2013, Monday from 5:00 PM to 8:30 PM at Vishwa Yuva Kendra, Chanakya Puri, New Delhi.
The event is aimed at bringing together facilitators/educationalists/professionals working with young people to bring their experiences and engage in a dialogue with them.
Through workshops and online dialogues that were initiated in an event in Feb, 2013, we have been collecting thousands of voices of young people. They have spoken clearly and emphatically about what they would like political parties to promise in the coming Delhi elections and next year in the Lok Sabha elections if they want to secure their votes.
I take this opportunity to invite all of you to be the real voice in shaping the policies that shape our lives. It’s time our political leaders listen to us and engage with us, young people. The time has come to integrate youth voices more meaningfully into decision-making processes at all levels… on various issues – corruption, women’s safety, education system, poverty…and many more. For creating a more effective and stronger mechanism let us all get together and ensure that our voice is heard!
You can determine whether the upcoming election takes us towards a greater peril or a brighter tomorrow!