Unemployment and social safety need to be addressed for youth welfare : Study

 

Dhaka 13 June 2021:

 

Clear roadmap of poverty reduction, employment generation and inequality reduction are must for youth empowerment.

Rigorous monitoring and evaluation of stimulus packages are essential for assuring youth development.

During pandemic youth population of the country was affected in the sectors like education, employment, income and health. Factors like poverty, social safety and gender-based violence need to be addressed for youth welfare.

Those observations came from a webinar titled ‘The National Budget FY 2021-22 from Youth Perspective’ organised by South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM) on Sunday in the city.

Besides, government should realize policy framework which is required for apprenticeship after finishing education. Unemployment benefits required for youths involved in informal sector.

Researcher also suggested for allocation increment of in health and education budget. Easier access to stimulus packages required for youths involved in small and medium enterprise (SME) sector. Removal of tax on private educational institutes is necessary for youth. Participatory approach need to be ensured of intersectional youths in policymaking process.

They underscored the need of updated data and research to assess the impact of the pandemic on youth. Evidence based policy making are also essential for assuring youth welfare in the country.

Professor Dr Sayema Haque Bidisha, Research Director, SANEM presided the session, while Eshrat Sharmin, Senior Researcher, SANEM presented the key note paper.

Farhah Kabir, Country Head, Action Aid Bangladesh, Eshrat Sharmin, Senior Researcher, SANEM, Md. Hasanul Islam, NDC, Additonal Secretary, Secondary and Higher Education Division, Md. Ismail, Additonal Secretary, Ministry of Social Welfare, Dr. Nashid Rizwana Manir, Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment, Sabina Yeasmin, Senior Assistant Secretary, Technical and Madrasa Education Division, Farzin Ferdous Alam, Chairman, Aogro Venture and Dr. Selim Raihan, Executive Director of Sanem, Nahim Razzaq, MP, among others, took part in the webinar.

According to SANEM, since 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has induced education, income, employment, and health related challenges on youth. There might be increase in unemployment, proportion of NEET youth population, crime in society, early marriages and domestic violence; all with an aging workforce and declining level of national output. Long term intergenerational effects including inadequate skill formation, lack of nutrition, unwanted pregnancies etc. might be taking place which require more data to assess appropriately.

According to the report, only 44 per cent of working age youth population was in labour market. 29.8 per cent of total youth population was NEET (Not in Education, Employment, and Training). Among 21-29 years age cohort, the rate is around 36 per cent.  Youth unemployment rate is 10.6% which is much higher than the national unemployment rate of 4.2 per cent.  89 per cent of the total employed youth are engaged in informal sector. Bangladesh is among the top 10 countries in the world for child marriage. Female labour force participation rate (around 36 per cent) has been stagnated.

 Political leaders, academics, development practitioners, business leaders, civil society activists, international development partners and journalists also took part in the dialogue.