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YOUTH: Drivers of Change?
“The youth are the hope of our nation.”, Dr. Jose P. Rizal says it best. That was hundreds of years
ago. A lot had changed since then – government system, infrastructures, technological advancement etc.
Still, then and now, the youth are regarded the same as Rizal once said. Recently, during the General
Assembly of United Nations World Program of Action for Youth, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon mentioned in his talk that youth are the catalyst of change, the “key drivers” in the present era.
The hope or the key drivers or whatever it is, can we rely on them amidst the issues they are facing these
Rapid technological advancement had been a trademark in today’s time - new gadgets here and
there, new specifications for this and that, new applications, new inventions in different fields. But along
this rapid change in terms of technology comes these issues concerning majority of the youth all over the
world. Some, such as teenage pregnancy, violence, gender inequality or discrimination, and
unemployment were the major issues even before this trademark change but are still the major issues
today. We cannot erase the fact that these were intensified - the number of cases increased - because of
the recent innovations.
Above mentioned cases and violence increased mainly, but not limited to the so-called “social
media”. Facebook, Messenger, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, and the likes are the widely used applications
wherein people - with legit accounts or not - easily interact with each other, post anything, access and
watch videos without restrictions. Due to the nature of youth which is impulsiveness and curiousness,
women end up being pregnant, or being victims of violence. Some ends up being shamed in social media
for posting his or her body picture which is regarded by the society as “fat” or “ugly”, for posting photos
with his date with his boyfriend (same sex relationship) which is still unacceptable to majority of the
public, or for posting selfies with Starbucks coffee on hand because he or she is regarded in school as a
poor child of a laundrywoman or a house helper.
The high percentage of unemployment not just in the Philippines but all over the world is composed
of youth. Why? Social media is addictive, just like cigarettes and liquors, so with mobile games. Being
addicted to these means less time to study school lessons, being tardy or sleepy in school, or ends up
dropping out of school. Thus, some may graduate but without the necessary knowledge and skills to enter
a job because instead of studying, their study time became social media time or game time. According to
research, many are still unemployed because they lack basic literacy and numeracy skills which are needed
for almost all jobs. With these issues, what should our government needs to do?
Youth are seeds – seeds that soon will sprout and grow into beautiful plants soon enough – if to be
well taken-cared of by the earlier generation. Educating them is the best way to take care of them. Our
government needs to focus on education. With the 21st century modes of teaching of the teachers and with
emphasis on integrating the pros and cons on the use of the latest technology especially the main causes
of the issues, it will help decrease the number of cases. It will be hitting many birds with one stone. It
should conduct seminars not just in schools but in communities on awareness on social media. Also, it
should establish more projects that increase level of the participation of youth whether it be social,
cultural, political or economic.
Soon, the youth of today will be the leaders of this nation. They are really the hope, our hope if and
only if they will overcome the obstacles they are facing. That is why everyone’s involvement is a must. Let
us not just sit and watch what will the youth do. Let us not just rely only on them. Let us help them. We can
do so by beginning it with ourselves. Let us be the drivers of our individual journeys first. Then, together
with the youth, we can drive the vehicle of our nation towards positive transformation and development.