A young Sri Lankan university teacher from the Jaffna University specializing in youth development strongly criticized statistical jargon released by state agencies saying these tend to wrong impression of the actual status of these sectors.
Addressing the opening sessions of the two day ‘Youth Development Programme “WeAre 2030 – Youth Dialogue and Incubation” on Tuesday at the BMICH – Colombo, Kabilan Suntharamoorthy, Lecturer in Community and Regional Planning, Development of Geography, Jaffna University and a volunteer in ‘Youth Empowerment’ said that the country’s literacy rate doesn’t reflect the actual meaning of ‘literacy’.
Thus, he said it gives the world a ‘wrong identity’ as if Sri Lanka is high in literacy in South Asia and that country would be among the developed countries. He said, “We are not at that level as the indicators are taken only of writing and reading and due to these small errors in the indicators our country is getting the worst identity in the world”.
Stressing that investment in youth is a priority, he said such policies should definitely have to be long term.
He said that the social welfare of the youth that was impacted due to the conflict should be resuscitated, which would otherwise lead to marginalize the youth. It is time to find out whether the conflict arises between the people, between the politicians or between groups of people.
He indicated that one reason why youth cannot get properly employed is that they not getting the right information at the right moment. Youth development would do well if all of them learn the three languages, Sinhala, Tamil and English and also it would be important for the youth to understand their strengths and weaknesses.
This programme to train 350 youth picked up across the country is hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), joined by Unilever Sri Lanka and several ministries and state agencies.
Opening the inaugural session, Jorn Sorensen, Sri Lanka Country Director, UNDP said that their agency is committed to youth empowerment and through the agency’s initiatives engage young women and men as transformative actors for change.
Yet the challenges they face, he said are unprecedented in climate change, unemployment in multiple forms of inequalities and exclusion and in particular for youth belonging to vulnerable or marginalized groups, though youth are today more connected, creative, informed and more persuasive than earlier as everywhere they are responding to the challenges of the day with innovative approaches.
He said, “Following the World Conference on Youth that was held in Sri Lanka in 2014, which put Sri Lanka’s sizeable youth population exceeding 4 million in the spotlight, many policies and action plans have been drawn up to empower youth in Sri Lanka”. (QP)
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