Published on August 14th, 2010 | by Babar Bhatti4
Youth in Pakistan – Time to Take Action
Every year August 14th is a time of reflection. More so this year as the nation is struggling with a natural disaster. According to some studies, 59% of population in Pakistan is below 24. Whatever the exact number may be, it is clear that the number of youth in Pakistan is very large. If we want to progress as a country we have to make sure that the youth group is provided with balanced education, the right guidance and opportunities to effectively contribute to the country. Currently, the youth is alienated and deeply unhappy about the situation. This is a big topic – in this post we look at how technology has shaped the thinking and character of youth in Pakistan.
Let’s take a look at 3 generations and how they interacted with technology
- 1970s. The generation born in 70s had some exposure to PCs in their youth but it was limited. There were very few cell phones in 90s. Media exposure was very limited. This generation has adapted technology.
- 1980s. For those who were born in 80s, technology became more accessible. Internet usage and cell phone services became available, though not cheap enough. Media exposure was also increasing. They embraced modern ICTs easily.
- 1990s. A major change which brought Internet and cell phone use to mainstream. For someone born in 1992, it is natural to use online services, use cell phones and text messaging heavily and to take part in blogs and social networks.
As I discussed in a recent post, the pace at which technology has entered our culture has created some unique challenges: access to content of all types, lack of parental guidance, abuse of technology and so on. The decades (even centuries) old traditions have started disappearing because new technologies are disruptive and we fail to grasp the full impact of this change. For example, we have heard complaints about late night calling packages and the open access to Internet.
On the other hand, rapid influx of technology has also given rise to faster flow of information and it has created opportunities for youth to learn more, to communicate and to express their opinions through blogs, Facebook and Twitter. Most of this has happened without much structure and governance which suits our culture and meets our needs. On top of it we have a flawed and biased education system which makes it hard to realize the potential of technology in a fair and well-planned manner. The economy does not absorb the graduates and opportunities for decent earnings are very limited.
So who’s responsible for providing the youth with guidance? What is the role of telecommunication companies in all this? Can they just sell call and sms packages to youth and be content with it? Where do parents fit in all this – what is their responsibility?
I’ll leave you with an excerpt from this article from Dawn: Wasted Youth. Tell us what you think.
“Next Generation” report, a 2009 Council study about Pakistan’s youth. The report, based on a survey of 1,500 young people across both rural and urban Pakistan, concludes that young Pakistanis are deeply disillusioned about their country and its institutions, with three-quarters of those surveyed saying they regard themselves as “primarily” Muslims, not Pakistanis. The report’s “critical point,” said Khawar, is that Pakistani youth participation in policy development is nonexistent.