According to United Nations figures, the total number of unemployed youth globally in 2022 is estimated to be as high as 73 million, 6 million more than the 2019 pre-epidemic level. It is estimated that 600 million new jobs will be needed globally over the next 15 years to meet the demand for youth employment.
Between 2021 and 2030, the global youth population is expected to grow by 7,800 million, with nearly half of that growth coming from low-income countries. The proportion of young people who are not in employment, education or training rises to 23.3% in 2020, the highest level in 15 years.
With the vibrant growth of today’s online social media platforms, the pressure on young people to compare themselves with their peers will be at its peak. As soon as they switch on their mobile phones, they will encounter intense peer pressure. The information will flood into their personal space around the clock, encroaching on their thoughts and downtime. Adolescents face some of the most acute social and peer pressure in human history.
Our society regards academic qualifications, money and social status as the only criteria for success. The pursuit of financial freedom, overnight riches or becoming an internet celebrity, and so on, all these vain methods and information have been destroying the noble virtues and correct values of human beings day and night.
In 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared 15 July as World Youth Day to highlight the importance of providing young people with employment opportunities, decent work and entrepreneurial skills. The theme of World Youth Skills Day 2023 is “Skilling teachers, trainers and youth for a transformative future”.
“Equipping young people with quality education, training and skills is essential. This World Youth Skills Day reminds us that teachers stand at the forefront of this great global effort.” – UN Secretary-General António Guterres
Different vocational training colleges provide vocational training for young people who are not able to go to university in the mainstream way. These schools are better able to equip them with practical, flexible and adaptable skills for the ever-changing labour market.
When I was studying in Germany, I learnt that the German Government had always put the importance of vocational colleges on a par with that of traditional universities. Some of the students who came from technical or vocational colleges were even from middle-class families. Young people from Syria or other war-torn countries also enter vocational training schools, so that they can join the German job market more quickly. Respect for each other is something that university students in the arts and sciences, as well as vocationally oriented students, need to learn. There is no need to be mean to each other. This is the kind of advanced education system I saw in Germany that I admire.
Compared to OECD countries such as Korea, Germany has a less competitive education system, a lower incidence of bullying in schools, and a lower fear of failure among students, resulting in a higher overall sense of well-being and self-confidence.
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Elva Lai enjoys reading, learning, travelling, hiking and making a cup of coffee in the morning. She received her art education in Singapore, the USA, Germany and Hong Kong.
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Authorised for re-posting. Opinions are solely those of the author.
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