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How youth can be a catalyst in transforming India?

By Shekhar Bhattacharjee

Youth is often linked with vitality, strength, passion, and zeal. Also popularly regarded as the hope of a nation, because they have the power to bring the required change and for that, we, collectively as a nation, need to support them in their endeavours. On this National Youth Day, let’s understand the key factors that can shape the nation’s true wealth-the youth.

With the rise of social media and increased accessibility to news through digital mediums, we can see the upsurged youth participation in socio-political and public concerns. Students in colleges and young adults have taken to social media to raise awareness of alarming issues such as the climate crisis, gender/ LGBTQ+ issues, sustainability, and more. A few such organisations are The Yugma Network- a student organisation raising awareness about the climate crisis, Self-Reliant India (SRI)- a youth organisation working towards bettering government schools in India, and Sathrangi- a youth organisation creating employment opportunities for transgender and queer people. These initiatives reflect the youth’s ardour in striving for a better nation and in turn, a better world. While there are massive efforts poured by the youth into bettering the nation, imminent struggles are knocking at their door.

Even after 75 years of Independence, research shows that around 35% of youth remain unemployed in India, resulting in a youth unemployment predicament. Research also shows that 65% of children entering primary schools today are estimated to ultimately work in new job types and functions that currently don’t exist. This is caused by a rapid change in workspace requirements and the unmoving curriculums of schools and colleges, resulting in a growing need for 21st-century skills such as critical thinking, communication, problem-solving, and more.

A nation needs administrative and managerial offices to ensure its functioning. As office bearers of current regulatory bodies complete their time in these offices, they look for successors to take up these offices and keep these bodies running. It is then, that the responsibility for the development and everything related to the next successes of the nation falls on the youth. So then, how do we prepare the youth for the future?

Education — Accessible education goes a long way for students in gaining knowledge. Along with technical education, there is a demand for complementary skills in the present job market. Research states that skills like critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving are the future of workforce. Inculcating these skills at work enables a person to develop a knack for learning, adapting, and persevering at the workplace.

Entrepreneurship — When we support the youth to ideate on the pain points of the nation and come up with solutions for them, the youth can channel their ambition and creativity to help solve these issues. When supported and provided entrepreneurial opportunities, they come up with positive and progressive solutions to these problems, which further helps the nation.

Mentoring — The most valuable experience for the youth is the opportunity to learn from more experienced and knowledgeable industry leaders. Connecting with such people allows the youth to gain experience and develop a network.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres stated in his message to the World Youth Forum, “Young people are critical agents of change, driving transformation worldwide. But too many young people face barriers that prevent them from reaching their full potential. This is unacceptable” This is exactly what we need to do. We as citizens of the nation can and should aid in lifting these barriers for the youth and support them to grow to their fullest potential.

Though we as citizens, workers, and industry leaders put in the effort to help and support today’s youth, there also needs to be an effort at a central level that ensures that the future of the nation is receiving the fundamental education required for the future. With the right education, training, support, and upliftment, the youth of any nation will be capable of safeguarding and progressing the nation.

The author is founder, CEO at Dalham Learning.

Also Read: Get yourself skilled to avoid redundancy in near future, Pradhan calls out youths

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