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Hilal English

Pakistani Youth: The Driving Force for National Progress

January 2024

This article highlights the pivotal role of Pakistani youth in national development, emphasizing the need for comprehensive measures in healthcare, education, and skill development. It underscores the transformative potential of empowering the youth for a prosperous and developed future.


Youth plays a crucial role in shaping society. Young men and women possess unmatched energy, drive, and potential. If properly channeled and regulated, these attributes can lead to the attainment of national objectives. Through proper motivation, guidance, and incentivization, they can generate innovative ideas, drive technical advancements, and envision the future. The ever-rising curve of the Pakistani youth bulge has reached a stage that necessitates taking pragmatic steps to empower the youth and make them useful citizens of the country.
Regarding the young population aged between 15-34 years, Pakistan ranks as the fifth largest country in the world. It possesses a working-age population of over 80 million young people, marked by a skill gap that poses a challenge in creating job opportunities. If their skills are appropriately enhanced and developed, we can not only boost their capacity to work but also enable them to play a significant role in creativity, innovation, and job satisfaction. Above all, this effort can help reduce, and even alleviate, poverty.
In this article, I have focused on the conceptual contours that define the quality of life for the youth, various projects and programs that have been undertaken from time to time at the government level, and a few measures that, if initiated in time, may help transform the youth of Pakistan into a formidable force.
When discussing the quality of youth, we must consider various aspects that provide a comprehensive picture. The key indicators of youth quality, ultimately contributing to their development and empowerment, encompass health, education, gender equality, skill development tailored to market needs, social commitments, the level and quality of employment (both domestic and international). The aspects related to the current state of Pakistani youth are outlined below:
▪   Health. Many adolescents and youth suffer from mental health problems due to the multi-layered pressures they experience, coupled with limited access to quality health advice and safe counseling services. It is essential to prioritize access to high-quality and secure healthcare facilities at every level—primary, secondary, and tertiary. Given the obstacles encountered by the younger generation, it is critical to address adolescent health challenges that demand immediate attention to ensure the well-being of young people, particularly young women, and empower them to live safer, healthier, and more confident lives. Moreover, quality healthcare is a fundamental necessity for the physical and socio-emotional growth of adolescents and youth.
 Education. Most adolescents and youth lack access to quality education due to a weak education system that hinders their ability to acquire core and transferable skills necessary to meet market needs. Education is a fundamental right that should be accessible to all young individuals worldwide. The UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) emphasize the importance of providing inclusive and high-quality education for everyone, along with opportunities for lifelong learning. This necessitates dedicated actions to ensure that both young women and men can access education freely and fairly, in addition to targeted training programs.


Regarding the young population aged between 15-34 years, Pakistan ranks as the fifth largest country in the world. It possesses a working-age population of over 80 million young people, marked by a skill gap that poses a challenge in creating job opportunities. If their skills are appropriately enhanced and developed, we can not only boost their capacity to work but also enable them to play a significant role in creativity, innovation, and job satisfaction.


 Skill Development.  Every year on the 15th of July, the world celebrates World Youth Skills Day to underscore the importance of encouraging youth to acquire skills for both career and personal development. The job market poses challenges for the youth, with insufficient opportunities in both public and private sectors aligned with the academic qualifications of young individuals. Consequently, it becomes imperative for young people to proactively acquire skills to enhance their employability and financial well-being.
▪  Social Commitments. The active participation of young adults in social activities exerts a profound influence on their personal growth and development, as well as their preparedness to embark on entrepreneurial endeavors. Through involvement in the country's business sector, young people hold the potential to contribute to economic growth and prosperity. Influential figures in the business world can play a pivotal role in supporting and inspiring young individuals who may face challenges due to limited resources or motivation. Given the fast-paced global landscape, there is an increasing demand for a diverse range of innovative products and services, underscoring the importance of the involvement of young entrepreneurs.



▪  Contribution to the National Work Force. Most adolescents and youth are impacted by poverty and unemployment, living in dire economic conditions due to a lack of access to decent work, income, and social protection benefits. The scarcity of employment opportunities significantly hampers the potential for youth empowerment and entrepreneurship.
Today's youth are navigating a challenging trajectory marked by a complex geopolitical environment and numerous obstacles that hinder their development and growth. Environmentally, today's youth faces factors such as social vulnerabilities, marginalization, family and generation gaps, a declining economic situation, and the impact of climate change. Emerging challenges include limited access to quality education and suitable employment, which affect the mental and physical health of the youth. By adopting a comprehensive plan that provides continuous support in health, education, and proper employment, we can transform today's youth into a valuable resource for growth and development.



Amidst all these challenges and difficult times, a ray of hope has emerged in the form of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC), which, along with developments in identified sectors, is well aware of the needs for the development of the youth of Pakistan. In this regard, three ministries, namely the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication, the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (Ministry of Agriculture), and the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, have taken up the task to empower and develop the youth through motivation, training, and proper enticement. These ministries, under the aegis of SIFC, have initiated a number of programs, research projects, and initiatives that primarily target the youth. Their focus is on the development of the youth of Pakistan and helping them become useful citizens of the country through a structured and informed approach.
Here are a few recommendations that can contribute to the achievement of national objectives through empowering the youth:



▪ Prioritizing access to high-quality and secure healthcare facilities at every level—primary, secondary, and tertiary—for the youth. In light of obstacles encountered by the younger generation, it is critical to address issues related to their mental and physical health. These areas demand immediate attention to ensure the well-being of young people, particularly young women, and to empower them to live safer, healthier, and more confident lives.


The UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) emphasize the importance of providing inclusive and high-quality education for everyone, along with opportunities for lifelong learning. This necessitates dedicated actions to ensure that both young women and men can access education freely and fairly, in addition to targeted training programs.


▪  The SDGs should be followed, emphasizing the importance of providing inclusive and high-quality education for everyone, along with opportunities for lifelong learning. This necessitates dedicated actions to ensure that both young women and men can access education freely and fairly, in addition to implementing targeted training programs.
▪   Imparting appropriate skills to the youth to enable them to become part of the guild of experts and authorities in a global environment. While it is essential to provide vocational and technical training to less-educated young men and women, due diligence is equally needed to empower and equip the educated youth.
▪    By offering incentives, we can encourage the youth to join the business sector of the country and harness their potential to enhance economic growth and prosperity. Given the fast-paced global landscape, there is an increasing demand for a diverse range of innovative products and services, making the involvement of young entrepreneurs all the more important.
It is evident that Pakistan is among the top few countries in the world with a burgeoning youth population, holding the potential to revolutionize the overall uplift of the country. This can be achieved by providing proper guidance, opportunities, and incentives through a comprehensive plan aimed at empowering them through motivation and training. By focusing on health, education, skill development, social commitments, and employment, a government-level plan, supported by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and other welfare organizations, has the potential to bring exponential improvements in the quality of the nation as a whole.
The Pakistani youth, constituting a substantial segment of our society, holds a crucial place in the development and growth of the country. To achieve exponential results and enhance the economic effectiveness of the country, it is imperative to develop their capabilities and empower them through motivation, training, and incentives. Strengthening this vital segment of our country could pave the way for a developed Pakistan in the future.


The author is a PhD scholar in Management Sciences with extensive experience in Project Management.

 

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