[Opinion] Why celebrate World Youth Day?

Muhammad Ali

August 12 is celebrated as World youth day around the world. In Pakistan, this day is celebrated by organizing few formal events such as seminars by government and civil society organizations in the expensive hotels. However, majority of youth remain even unaware about their day.

Youth has received increasing attention in the last couple of decades at international level. Their role has been realized and recognized in the development of the society, therefore, in many countries youth have been termed as their national asset. In the developed countries, much attention has been given towards youth development by conducting extensive research as well as planning and executing different programs for youth. However, in the developing countries like Pakistan, this area has received less concentration.

The role of youth cannot be overlooked in Pakistan. In Pakistan young people form a crucial demography. According to UNDP, in Pakistan 63% of population falls under the age of 25 years. Similarly, the  National youth policy(2008) states that  youth from the age of  15-29 years  represent  27 percent of population and it is predicted that this segment will more than  60 percent in 2018. This huge energetic population can be precious asset for the country if they are given opportunity to actualize their potentials and capabilities. Otherwise, the uneducated and unemployed youth can be threat for the society in many ways. In this regard as nation, we need serious reflection and conscious efforts to nurture and transform the potentialities of the huge number of young people.

First, we need to transform our belief and perception about the youth. It is important to realize that every youth has the potential and capacity to contribute in the development of the country. However, they need opportunity to nurture their potentials and skills.

Second, to actualize youth’s potential and skills they need a quality education. The process of education should help them to reflect critically on their personal and social lives. It should provide them opportunity to develop their various skills such as thinking, literacy, social and so on. The educational activities should facilitate them to develop a positive attitude towards the people of the society and the environment where they live. It is evident that the fast growing nations such as Malaysia have made conscious efforts to capitalize the potential of youth through quality education in order to develop their country. It is not only the commerce and military power that makes a nation developed but also a quality human recourse is equally important.

Third, the educated and skilled youth need appropriate job opportunity and conducive work environment in order to utilize their capacity at maximum level. They need encouragement and facilitation from the organization where they serve. They require empowerment and space to use their creativity and innovation.

In short, world youth day means to not only come together and speak but this day demands a serious reflection and conscious effort about how to provide opportunity to youth to actualize potentials. This day is also important for the youth to reflect on how to grab opportunities for their development. There are several international and national organizations such as United Nations, Commonwealth, SARK and so on, who provide different opportunities for the youth for growth and development, however, our youth need to be smart and take benefit from those initiative to nature and grow their innate abilities.

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