A policy consultant, Michael Boampong, has expressed the need to bridge the gap in the quality of education accessed by the youth in the urban areas, as against the youth in the rural areas.
Mr Boampong observed that despite the government’s introduction of the free Senior High School programme, there were still prevalent issues of student and teacher absenteeism, child labour, lack of facilities and lack of information and communications (ICT) infrastructure in deprived areas.
He made these assertions, when he delivered a report at a one-day consultative workshop on the State of Youth Development workshop, organised by the National Youth Authority (NYA) and the Commonwealth Secretariat in Accra.
The outcome of the exercise was to develop ‘A fit for purpose’ national youth policy for the country.
Mr Boampong, who addressed various youth groups, civil society and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on the day, pointed out that, the Education Strategic Plan (ESP) framework 2010-2020 was intended to bridge the gap in education, and ensure access to all.
The study also highlighted key areas of youth development including; well-being, employment and opportunities available to the youth in the country.
He recommended huge investments in the data industry as an emerging area to employ the youth and also to address the challenge of gathering data on young people in the rural regions.
Mr Boampong described the challenge of getting data on youth in the rural regions as daunting, as compared to youth in the urban zone.
Emmanuel Sin-nyet Asigri, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NYA, indicated that a lot of progress had been made by his outfit to review the policy introduced in 2010, to make it responsive to contemporary demands, taking into account the 2030 Global development Agenda, the Agenda 2063 of the African Union, the Africa Youth Charter and the commonwealth youth development index indicators.
He added that the revised policy would enhance the competencies and capabilities of the youth, tilting their focus to key areas such as; education, health and well-being, political participation, civic participation, employment and opportunity.
Mr Rams Sushil, Programmes Manager at the Commonwealth Secretariat, on his part, urged stakeholders to focus more attention towards the implementation of the policy, adding that a policy that was not implemented was of no use.
He also tasked stakeholders to continuously monitor and evaluate the policy to ensure it meets the changing demands in the socio-economic landscape.
Mr Sushil said that the national youth policy was not only a government policy but a policy for all, including civil societies and NGOs, adding that corporate bodies must take interest in it.
BY NANA BENTSI ODURO