The youth issue has been discussed widely and was one of the major points of debates during the last election in Kurdistan, which all political rivals played seriously on this important string by giving the youth promises, proposing plans, and many other points that few have been applicable until now. Challenges in front of the youth are critical to the future of political as well as economic development in Kurdistan. In a Region where more than half of the population is under the age of 30, prosperity and development focus on prospects and opportunities presented to this age group.
The Kurdish youth will have to struggle for better education taking to consideration the progress in the number of universities, employment opportunities with all the foreign as well as local investments, gender equality and social constraints, in addition to fighting poverty and hunger. It is the fight of this generation, which that can act as a channel for a more developed and democratic society, that will determine the future of the Region.
Crucial is an approach that assists the advancement and development of youth in Kurdistan, both academically and socially. With the right approach, this large group of human capital can present opportunities for growth, prosperity, sustainability and stability. But in order to begin to approach the issue, one needs to understand the obstacles and challenges the youth face.
Given the high unemployment rate, candidates to the job market will not be able to obtain jobs unless they have the right foundation and background. Regrettably, not only in the rural area but the main cities as well, education policies seem to fail the needs of the market which needs the globalized education especially in the business major.
Curricula need revision. Skills and expertise required for the market need to be categorized in order to train a generation ready to enter the market. Focus should be on eliminating illiteracy; accompanied by preface technological and professional skills, the youth will be able to contribute to society or gain employment to sustain their future and help the future of Kurdistan.
Illiterate youth will create much burden on the society and the economy. As a result, access to competent education, accompanied by development programs and professional training, is bound to promote inventive approaches that are essential in building a labor-intensive market with diverse professions in all the majors that the market will absorb easily because of the shortage in the frictional employment.
Poverty creates numerous challenges to the youth. A great number of young Kurds live in rural areas with limited access to a proficient learning environment that would provide them with skills for their future. This also restrains those individuals’ access to the appropriate health services or decent housing.
The political system needs to be regulated in order to provide those groups with means and resources to penetrate the market and institutions that would aid the youth’s growth rather than isolate them from the community.
Another challenge the Kurds youth face are societal constraints and the culture of shame. For example, in some communities, it is socially unacceptable, and it is not welcomed, for a woman to get a job or work outside the household. In fact, some do not even recognize the importance of education for women.
The youth in Kurdistan, especially women, continue to be suppressed by a culture that portrays change and advancement as negative. What needs to be done is to reinforce some of the positive social values that we as a culture embrace and educate people in order to change their mindsets, particularly about women’s role.
The significance of educating women and giving them job opportunities in order to aid in sustaining the household should be encouraged. The culture of shame and inequality needs to be contained.
Confronted with quite a few serious challenges, young people need to be supported in every way possible in order not to become marginalized and deprived of a decent future. Major efforts need to be exerted to ensure the well-being of the youth who will become the backbone of the Region and its future. Among the measures that need to be taken are: change the attitude of the people; provide educational possibilities to youth that would translate into job opportunities; put forward assistance programs that secure the basic essentials of life. If this is done, the consequences of having to deal with a generation that lacks employability, proper education and a mindset compatible with that we will have no difficulties on keep up with the global progress and create a bridge of mutual understanding with other nations.
Creating jobs and opportunities come through encouraging start ups and entrepreneurship under the patronage of Kurdish businesspeople, venture capitalist and government. At last as we have a saying in Kurdish “One Hand can`t clap”, this is the responsibility of both the Kurdish people themselves along with the businesses and government.
By Bayad Jamal Ali