KARACHI: As much as half of the population of Sindh's youth between the ages 15 and 29 is out of the labour force, while only a meagre eight per cent of this population is self-employed.
An appallingly high degree of gender disparity is prevalent. Female inactivity in the province was very high with an estimated 91.5 per cent in 2006-2007, the official statistics indicated. These gloomy figures were shared by speakers at the provincial youth panel discussion, titled 'Prospects of Peace and Social Cohesion in Sindh'. The event was organised by Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler) at the Piler Centre in Karachi. The speakers included Gadap Town assistant district officer education Noor Ahmed Solangi, Karachi University researcher Naghma Iqtidar, Piler joint director Zulfiqar Shah and others.
What can be done?
The speakers stressed on making a new youth policy of Sindh by incorporating the recommendations of the youth of rural areas as well. They said that Sindh has lower multi-dimensional poverty indices as compared to other provinces. The gap between urban and rural indices is wide, at 13.6 per cent in urban and 78.21 per cent in rural areas. This indicates that rural areas of Sindh are in extreme poverty and deprivations loom large. The districts of Tharparkar, Thatta, Badin, Jacobabad, Ghotki, Mirpurkhas, Sanghar and Shikarpur are the most deprived districts of Sindh, they said.
According to the speakers, the youth of Sindh have to play their part in the restoration of peace in the society through healthy activities. Peace can be restored by bringing together young people from different communities and encouraging them to participate in each other's social and cultural activities.
A healthy environment for education and extracurricular activities might help mould the youth into responsible citizens, they said. It is the poor standard of education in schools that is diverting the young generation to anti-social directions. Speakers lamented that there is a lack of solution-oriented discussions these days. They said that the capabilities of the youth should be discussed for bringing about a positive change in the society.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2014.