The importance of youths in the development of any nation cannot be overemphasized. Around 1.2billion of the young people are estimated to live in the world today. Which equals 18 percent of the global population and 25percent of the working population globally. The persons that fall within the age bracket of youth is defined differently by different institutions and nations. The United Nations defines the youth as those within the ages of 15-24years. But the youth policy defines the youth as well as young persons of the ages 18-35 years. However, in many countries the youths face obstacles in engaging in productive activities: the educational and training system does not provide them with the skills required to get a job in the private sector as they are considered high risk because of the age and lack of competence and entrepreneurial experience and the youths find it difficult to start up their own business because some development services are lacking, hard to access and not geared towards the particular needs of the young entrepreneurs.
The youths should be seen as the backbone and future of any country. They shouldn’t be marginalized and excluded from governance, political participation and the development process. It is necessary to focus on the development of the youths so that they can become productive, contribute to the progress of the society and we know we are in safe hands. Instead of relegating them to the background, put them at the forefront. They should be included in all facets of life. The youths should be given a purpose so as to take their mind off engaging in illegal activities, substance abuse and many other social vices. They also say that the youths are “the leaders of tomorrow”, we should try to stop that saying as that tomorrow never comes. The tomorrow is now and the youths need to wake up, sit up and brace up.
The youths should be the oil that lubricates the engine of economic growth and development and the power house that drives the pace of productivity.
In this article, we will talk about:
- Unique characteristics of youths
- Results of youth productiveness
- Challenges that youths face in being productive
- How to help youths to be productive
There are certain unique characteristics of the youths which include:
- They are the future of any nation and serve as the bridge that links the present to future generations.
- They constitute the largest part of the population of most nations especially the developing nations
- They are relatively inexperienced and impatient but their spontaneity, adventure and daring disposition can be put to productive use.
- They constitute the most active and productive part of any nation
- They are very dynamic and can serve as agents of social change especially is societies experiencing moral degeneration.
RESULTS OF YOUTH PRODUCTIVENESS
When youth in a nation engage in productive activities, it will be seen in the progress of the country because the country will experience economic development. For this reason, nations should give youths the opportunity to participate in every aspect of the economy.
Here are some of the results of youth productiveness to the society and also to themselves:
- There is an increase in the output or productivity of the nation
A nation that gives room for youths to be involved in activities that will help the country tends to experience an increase in the national output and productivity. The youths are the working population and are ready to put effort and resources in every activity they are given.
The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of these nations will increased when the youths engage in meaningful activities ranging from working in a firm to starting up their own businesses making them contribute to the Gross Domestic Product of the nation.
- Enhances economic development
An increase in the level of output of the nation will lead to an increase in the income of the citizens and if the youth are the majority of the working population which is supposed to be so, then they will benefits more. The youths always give in their best in anything they do as this is the stage of agility and enthusiasm. So when output increase as a result of the hard work of the young people, it can lead to economic development and better livelihood.
- There is room for innovation and invention
Like it has been said, the importance of the youths cannot be overemphasized. When this young people are provided with the resources to be productive, the chances for innovation and creativeness has been opened as they will bring in their ideas and abilities and also knowledge. The youths will use their skills and talents to create useful things in the society when given the opportunity and not neglected.
- Increase in labour and workforce
Labour is very importance in the production of goods and services and also in the development of a nation. Involving the youths in productive activities will boost the labour force in the society. There will be matching supply of labour for the demand for labour as there will be people available and willing to work. The government should in their own way create job opportunities and the resources to make the youths productive so they wouldn’t be lazy and have a negative attitude to work.
- Promotion of industrialization
When youths are encouraged to be entrepreneurs and are provided with the environment and resources to invent and innovate, there will need to establish industries and promote export. This will reduce the dependency on importation of goods that can be produced in the country.
- Increase in the standard of living of the people
When there is economic development in the country as a result of productive activities of the youths, there will be an increase in the standard of living and general welfare of the people in the society. A country that is developed will see an improvement in all sector of the economy and these improvement will lead to a better standard of living for the people. There will be no inflation( the continuous rise in the prices of goods), no or low unemployment, low cost of living in a country with a developed economy.
- More investments will be made
An increase in the standard of living of people in the society means that they are living on a better income and this will help them escape from the vicious cycle of poverty. When the government invest in the youths, they become productive and in turn promote investment through their inventions and innovations which will boost the growth and development of the nation at large.
- Reduction in crime rate
When this young people are given the opportunity to be productive in the country, that would take their mind off engaging in vicious activities and invest their time and resources in producing and inventing things in the society which will create room for economic development.
CHALLENGES THAT YOUTHS FACE IN BEING PRODUCTIVE
In as much as they are the active segment of the population and through their production and services offering create conditions for continuing workforce productivity and introduce innovation and better work methods, they face some challenges which hinder them from living up to their expectations and full potential.
Some of the challenges are:
- Unemployment and underemployment
In a country where there is a prevailing level of unemployment, the youths become unproductive and lose interest in participating in any activity in the country as they feel neglected and marginalized. The government should create job opportunities so as to engage the youths and boost productivity among them.
- Lack of resources for training
These young people have to be invested in. The inability of countries to provide the necessary resources to train these youths and bring out the best in them will reduce their productivity. They will not become experts in their field or skill as they either stop halfway or lose interest totally.
- Political instability
A change in government and government policies can also affect the youths and their level of productivity.
For instance, a policy can be set in by a government to involve youths from certain age in productive activities and other sectors. This policy can last for the tenure of that present government (which can be 4years as seen in some countries of the world) and after that, a new government might emerge and either stop the program or introduce its own policies and programs that might not include the youths thereby discouraging the youths and making them feel left out.
“Students should not only be trained to live in democracy when they grow up, they should have the chance to live in one today” – Alfie Kohn
This is the relegation of the youths to an unimportant or powerless position within a society. This process will create no room for productivity among the youths as they are being neglected and not given proper attention. The marginalization of youths is prevalent in many African countries as they still go with the saying “the leaders of tomorrow” knowing the tomorrow never comes.
Youths should be given positions when they can make decisions and set policies and also implement the policies.
- High level of illiteracy among the youths
Due to the marginalization of youths, they do not see the importance of education and this leads to a high level of illiteracy which will definitely lead to low productivity among the youths.
Most times, lack of educational and research facilities can cause a lackadaisical attitude towards education among the youths and make them invest their time and efforts in unproductive activities.
“Children after all are not just adults-in-the making. They are people whose current needs and rights and experiences must be taken seriously” -Alfie Kohn
- Low level of savings due to low investment
In the vicious cycle of poverty, we see that low income will lead to low savings and when this happens, there will be low investment and this will lead to no economic development. Low savings among the youths will make them unable to have capital to invest in their skills, talents and ability to invent. They will have a high propensity to consume because of the low income coupled with inflation.
- Corruption and nepotism
The prevailing favoritism among people in higher positions towards their relatives or family members will make them unable to see a capable person that can contribute to the productivity of the company or country at large. This corruption and nepotism among government officials will make the youths lose interest as they feel they won’t be given the chance due to favoritism and corruption. They won’t show hidden skills and talents.
- Uneven distribution or inequitable distribution of resources
A country that experiences an uneven distribution of resources to its citizens, is said to be an underdeveloped country because this shows a level of underdevelopment and if these resources are not shared to favour the youths which are the working population, there would be no productivity among the youths as they won’t have capital to invest in their skills and talents and they won’t have the zest to be innovative and think creativity.
HOW TO HELP THE YOUTHS TO BE PRODUCTIVE
There is need for nations to refocus on the development of the youth so as to enable rapid economic growth and development. There are some ways the government, families, communities and organizations can help in the development of the youths to make them productive.
- The youth training programs especially leadership training, character development and value re-orientation, conflict transformation and peace making has to be introduced to enable the youths become productive.
- Entrepreneurship education and programs which will include training and access to credit facilities to set up their own business
- There should be an introduction of skill acquisition programs such as fabrication, farming, fashion designing, plumber, welding, shoemaking etc.
- There should be specific projects for the youths that would help create room for inventions and innovations.
- Creation of job opportunities without corruption or nepotism will go a long way in boosting the productivity of the youths in the country.
- Provision of basic ICT infrastructure and services to enable good governance, enhanced business activities, improved commercial activities and accelerated economic development.
- Establishment of functional digital libraries with relevant information for youth development.
In conclusion, for youths to survive and remain productive in this vast and globalized driven world, the youths have to be self-reliant, self-determined, independent, self-employed and innovative.
The youths should be given the room to participate in governance and development as it is pivotal in democracy. The true democracy is allowing the youth the chance to live in the system today. They should be provided with the right skill, right training and right education and the adults should reduce the “I know better” perspective and embrace the changing world.
“The youths are not falling the system, the system is failing the youths. Ironically, the very youth who are being treated the worst the young people who are going to lead us out of this nightmare”
– Rachel Jackson
Image credit: Pixabay.com
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