Quality education, suitable job opportunities for next generation top priority: Zahid Durrani

ISLAMABAD, Sep 13 (APP): National Assembly Deputy Speaker Zahid Akram Durrani on Tuesday said the provision of quality education and suitable employment opportunities to the next generation would be the top priority in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) meeting agenda.

Addressing the Asia-Pacific Seminar on Quality Education and Decent Work for Youth, he said regional parliamentary institutions should work together for the provision of quality education, public-private partnership and access to technology.

He said almost every country in the Asia-Pacific region had satisfactory access to primary education. However, some countries were still unable to provide quality and equal educational opportunities to their youth.

He urged the parliaments to achieve such goals, underlining that education for the youth would help meet the demand of the market.

International Labor Organization Programme Officer Rabia Razak, in her address, said the digital economy needed to focus to achieve economic development. For quality education, students living in remote areas should also have equal Internet access, she added.

Different participants, in their remarks, said the youth constituted majority of the world’s population as more than 600 million youth aged 15 to 24 lived in Asia and the Pacific region and their contributions were critical to the region’s productivity and inclusive development.

They said the young people playd a leading role in the development and had been pioneers in presenting solutions to some of the most pressing development challenges through the development of technological tools and media solutions.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the youth in the Asia-Pacific region faced more inequalities and vulnerabilities in finding decent work, with the regional youth employment rate in 2019 standing at 13.8 per cent, compared to the global average of 13.6 per cent, they noted.

When compared to adults, four out of every five workers in the region were in informal employment, and one out of every four young workers lived in moderate poverty. Youth are nearly five times more likely than adults to be unemployed in regions with high rates of informal employment.

Education is one of the factors that determine who is likely to gain access to secure decent jobs in the formal economy.

The Third Regional Seminar on Achieving SDGs provides an opportunity for MPs from across the Asia-Pacific Region to not only recognize the role of education in shaping labour market outcomes for young people, but also renew efforts in the development agenda to invest in quality education from pre-primary to tertiary levels.

The session also focused on the importance of ensuring quality inclusive and equitable education opportunities regardless of gander, caste or creed. Education and skill development programs required innovative and sustainable solutions to address the skill needs of the next generation, and it is critical to ponder on leveraging modern technology for promoting quality education, especially in the post-COVID era.