Today we are breathing in a rapid changing world. In this ever-changing world, a huge amount of information, knowledge and thoughts are exchanged by individuals and societies. The exchange of information and ideas demands effective communication skills from individuals, particularly, from young people, to express their views effectively in order to pace with the fast changing world.
The young people of Gilgit-Bastistan have tremendous potential and capacity to prove themselves in any field. However, it is generally observed that despite having potentialities, at times the youth face challenges in communicating and expressing their ideas and feelings due the lack of communication skills. This sometimes results in frustration and aggression. This paper attempts to identify and analyze some of the reasons that affect the process of skill development related to communication. It also forwards some suggestion to respond the issue.
Human development is a complex phenomenon; there can multiple factors that influence the communication skills of the young people. Few are discussed here.
The development of communication capabilities starts with the childhood. In this regard, the environment/culture of at home and society play a vital role. It is generally observed that in some areas of GB children are not encouraged to speak in from of elders by considering it a disrespect act. Such cultural norms discourage the young people to express their views in front of others and prefer to remain silent. This habit ultimately becomes part of their lives. Consequently, the young people’s communication skills remain under-developed.
In GB the young people have to learn more than two languages. They start leaning their mother tongue and gradually interact with other local languages spoken in the societies. Latter in the school the children are exposed to the national language, Urdu and English. Both of these languages have their own nature and structure which are different from the local languages. Therefore, the young people face challenges to assimilate the languages. Hence, despite spending a long time on learning languages they face challenges expressing their thoughts in the learnt language.
Schools are generally viewed responsible to develop the children’s knowledge, skills and attitude. However, the teaching strategies that are adopted in most of the school are not helpful for the students in developing their skills such as language, communication, inter personal skill and so on. Languages are taught traditionally using the translation method. The four areas of language acquisition such as speaking, listening, reading and writing are not kept in account while teaching the second/third languages like Urdu and English. Furthermore, the teaching methods are more teacher-centered where students remain as passive listener rather than an active learner. As a result after graduating from the schools or colleges the student’s communication kills remain under developed.
Furthermore, most of the areas of GB lack the opportunities and facilities that facilitate the youth to develop their potentials. For example, youth from the remote areas have less access to media and ICT facilities. Even the young people who have access ICT they are not educated how to use those media productively. Libraries and studies rooms are no available where they can read and discuss. In the vacuum of healthy activities, youth waste their time in means and unproductive activities, which do not help them to develop their skills.
Communication skill can be improved through conscious measures and efforts. Here some suggestion are forwarded to help the young people in the developing their communication skills.
Fist, the parents are needed to be aware about their children’s holistic development. Parents should encourage their children to speak and discuss different topic at home. In this regard, a friendly culture at home needed to be flourished where children can express and share their views/ideas with their parents and family members.
Secondly, the school required to transform their practices. They need to review their teaching strategies to involve the student in different activities. The language teachers should be trained and equipped with the modern teaching methods of language.
Thirdly, steps should be taken by the government and civil society organization to provide basic facilities to the youth. For example, different healthy activities can be arranged for the youth such as speech competition, debate and essay writing. Library should be established at town and village level to provide environment for the young people to read and write.
Finally, the youth should not wait for others only to get facilitation. They need to be proactive and take initiative for their development. For examples, they can establish small reading, writing, language and discussion clubs/societies at village and town levels. The youth, who have access to internet and other ICT, they can use it for their verbal and written communication skills by its effective utilization. We can learn from the youth who have taken proactive steps to use internet effectively for the benefit of the area and youth by initiating blogs and websites and Pamir times is one of the examples.
To sum up, the importance of communication skills cannot be overlooked for youth in this age. To actualize the potential of the youth serious measures are needed at multiple levels such as family, schools, government and civil society organizations. The youth also need to be proactive to create opportunities for their development.
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