A large part of the youth is still out of the formal education as well as the workforce as they are grappled with religious extremism, drug abuse and depression, according to experts.
Call for mainstreaming youths who still fall behind
September 3, 2022
At the opening ceremony of a conference on Bangladesh Youth and SDGs in Dhaka on Thursday, they said there are rural people far away from the capital's civil society who have to struggle with the basic needs.
Citizen's Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh, organised the programme in association with the UNDP.
As the chief guest of the programme, Planning Minister MA Mannan raised the question whether those who live in the city are only citizens.
"The word citizen is related to only individuals living in cities. But there are communities and people beyond this to whom there might be neglect. But the communities also have rights and demands. Those must be acknowledged," said the minister.
For rural people, basic needs are the main priority, he said. "On the other hand, people in cities are concerned about good governance and human rights. The priorities change when you go to the village."
The planning minister said the country's main concern is to address the priorities of the rural people first. "These people need to be mainstreamed. They should be ensured the facilities they deserve."
Human rights activist Sultana Kamal said the youth are the most powerful part of any society as the country's expectations from them are high.
"They should be guided," she said, referring to the youth to adopt the spirit of the liberation war.
"A good heir never sells or destroys an inheritance; Instead, they enrich it. I hope our youths will be good successors," noted Sultana Kamal.
Debapriya Bhattacharya, a noted economist and also convener of the Citizen's Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh, said only educated individuals in cities do not make the entire young segment of the population.
"The youth segment is not homogenous. We should also reach the youth who somehow fall behind. A large part of the youth is not in education or work. Most of them are women. They are far from the economic system as many of them are getting involved in drug abuses and extremism. Depression-led suicide cases have now become frequent. We need to address it," said the economist.
Referring to the recent census, Debapriya said 1.5 crore to 2 crore youths have become new voters after 2018.
Addressing the young people, he said voting is a civic duty. The voice of the youth must be made clear in the coming elections.
UNDP Resident Representative for Bangladesh Stefan Liller, Brac Director (Gender Justice and Diversity) Nobonita Chowdhury, BdJobs Founder Fahim Mashroor and Film Director Mostofa Sarwar Farooki also spoke on the occasion.
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