After more than a decade of its absence, a National Youth Policy was on Thursday laid in the National Assembly, outlining the government’s agenda for young Guyanese.
The policy seeks to address some of the major problems facing Guyanese youth, such as suicide, mental health, teenage pregnancy, weak youth representation, youth crime and youth unemployment.
The former People’s Progressive Party had been promising a youth policy for at least the last two terms of its 23 years in government.
Work on the policy started under the PPP government and several consultations were held across the country to draft the document that will decide the future of Guyanese youth. With the Change in government in May 2015, the plan was given fresh attention and was quickly finalized for presentation in the House following several rounds of consultations across the country.
The 2015 document outlines the plans for the development of young people and also outlines the government’s priorities for people under the age of 35. It represents a stated commitment to improve the situation of young people in Guyana in a manner that is empowering, inclusive and sustained.
Over a two year period (2013 – 2014) more than 3000 youth were engaged through regional consultations and a National Youth Forum to help formulate the policy.
The policy seeks to improve the skills of young people, produce a productive and enterprising youth workforce, encourage leadership and promote good health among other things.
The government believes that the high level of poverty has served to exacerbate unemployment and illiteracy and as such has offered its commitment to creating an enabling environment for youth development.
The policy will be periodically reviewed and updated within five years. It has also created a framework for the development of a National Youth Empowerment Action Plan to ensure the effective implementation of the policy. (by Kurt Campbell)