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What do you think the ideal South African Youth Policy would look like?

Categories: Education, Skills Development, Social & Community
Was the National Youth Policy(NYP) 2014-2019 written for government officials or for the Youth of South Africa? Niki Alexander takes a deeper look.

The National Youth Policy recognises that young people are not passive, but are champions of their own development who need space to actively participate in their own growth and development as members of society. This may be a positive step forward by government, but The NYP does not illustrate of “how” platforms will be made available to young people in order to demonstrate their potential.

We live in a society where a small number of the older generation has based their research on what young people need on simple assumptions. For example; When an organisation or an individual has visited a school in any township. Walking through the corridors, and speaking to the Principal and a few teachers. Then they would leave, without speaking to the learners or hearing what they have to say. These individuals would then return and establish a computer science lab. In my experience, growing up in one of these communities I have witnessed this. I agree that our schools need infrastructure but there are immediate needs that should be addressed.

I recently attended a dialogue based on the NYP 2014/2019 at the Institute of Justice and Reconciliation. Here are some highlights that was addressed:

  • Self- development is of vital importance and should be incorporated in the Youth Policy
  • Young people are to be involved in policy processes. Policy process content should be user-friendly and allow for youth engagement
  • We need to bridge the gap between urban and rural areas
  • The implementation and not only the education of entrepreneurial practises should be encouraged at schools. A result of this would lead to an increase in economic participation once students leave formal schooling. This in turn, would decrease youth unemployment.
  • By having parental- education this would result in improving communication in family matters.
  • Why isn’t the National Youth Development Agency active in the community?

On numerous occasions -in my field of work, I have experienced that when you allow a platform for a young person to fully be, they then discover different aspects of who they are and what they are capable of doing.You will discover that they lack self- worth, self- discovery and self-esteem. In my opinion, this is where the crux of the matter lies.

We can propose unlimited opportunities and platforms of allowing for young people to interact, but if they do not know “who they are” or feel empowered enough, how will they be capable to participate in Active Citizenship in building this Nation?

In conclusion, here are some examples of how one can allow the young person to be fully in their potential. It starts with a simple conversation, getting to know the person. Suspend all your judgements and allow for openness to learning new insights. Another important factor does not provide any solutions to their problems or challenges, act as a guide or mentor. This allows them to seek for their own solutions in their life.

Young people need a platform to Express, Explore and Experience!

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