Everybody involved in moulding the lives of the youth must be aware of the nature of the youth as well as their problems. Times are changing. It is the turn of a decade and we were first ushered into it with a global pandemic that has changed who we are, how we communicate, and how we develop. At a time like this, the youth, majorly made up of millennials and Gen Zs, are struggling as they navigate life. Already designed with a mentality that they must all be rich and famous, the pressure on these youths are now toughened by what is going on in the world around them.
This year, the theme for the International Youth Day as the United Nations Organisation has stated is, “Youth Engagement for Global Action”. This theme seeks to highlight the ways in which the engagement of young people at the local, national and global levels are enriching national and multilateral institutions and processes, as well as drawing lessons on how their representation and engagement in formal institutional politics can be significantly enhanced. This year’s IYD seeks to put the spotlight on youth engagement through the following three interconnected streams:
- Engagement at the local/community level;
- Engagement at the national level (formulation of laws, policies, and their implementation); and,
- Engagement at the global level.
These engagements should be seen as education. One can say that the youth has an advantage over other age groups in world development, different from these engagements expected of them. And that advantage is glaring – education. Education, evident in all kinds of learning, is a platform for the youth to drive world development. Since 2020 began, learning patterns have changed and to particularly speak to teachers and trainers; the youth have lived with their smartphones all their lives. Before their attention can be secured, the teaching process must change. Videos, slides and other interactive methods of passing knowledge need to be adopted. Interesting games should also be introduced.
To get the attention of the 2020 youth, trainers must understand the changing learning patterns as well as the access to information. One major advantage of the internet is that it brings information closer to its users. As a result, loads of information that are previously not readily available or that could not be easily obtained are now available. However, it is not the volume of the available information that matters but its use by the people- the youth.
Education for youth is what shapes the world tomorrow. They demand opportunity and an education which allows them to build their skills and contribute to their own societies. Beyond literacy and numeracy, they seek digital and transferable skills like problem-solving, critical-thinking, communications and entrepreneurship. They know these are the skills they increasingly need in a world in which jobs are being transformed by globalization, automation and expanding webs of trade and commerce. At each level of engagement, this form of education is geared towards catering to the people who cannot historically afford it. It is not enough to commit to engage at these levels, it’s about ‘whom for’.