BY AADARSH MUZAFFAR
Pakistan has seen decline in its Youth Development Index score by 18 % since 2010. Pakistan ranked at 154 out of 183 countries with overall score 0.47 according to the new Global Youth Development Index (YDI) compiled by commonwealth secretariat.
YDI has incorporated five categories, measuring level of education, health and wellbeing, employment and opportunity, political and civic participation intended for young people. Commonwealth defines youth as people between the ages of 15 and 29 and report said that 640 million of the citizens, residing in 53 member states of commonwealth are between this age group.
The report recorded extensive decline between 2010 to 2015 in Pakistan’s rank that could be accredited to the noticeable fall of the country’s score in the domain of civic participation 58% and political participation 69 %. Especially, the main reason behind this fall is the lack of youth policy, which is the key indicator used for the political participation.
Pakistan scored worse than the South Asian average in all domains of the YDI excluding health and wellbeing. The youth literacy rate in Pakistan is nearly 76% and only 42 % children are enrolled in secondary schools. Only 6% of Pakistani youth have an account at formal financial institutions, according to the YDI report. “ Youth development can be achieved even in low income countries by providing quality education and training and allowing young people to participate in the nation’s political, economic and social life” report said .
Pakistan performed poorer than Syria and Iraq ranked at 137th and 145th respectively in YDI report. Amongst other Muslim countries Malaysia is at 34, Saudi Arabia (54), Turkey (62), Qatar (75), Lebanon (76), Iran ( 94), UAE (107), Philistine (126), and Egypt (138). The top ten countries on the Youth Development Index are mostly from Europe Germany is at no 1, Denmark( 2), Australia( 3), Switzerland( 4), United Kingdom (5), Netherlands (6), Austria (7), Luxembourg(8), Portugal (9) and Japan 10.
Countries like Pakistan have to focus on quality of education, technical education, training and skill development, active and positive participation of youth in political and civic activities of the country and the development and implementation of youth policy. Such instruments will help the country to upgrade its ranking in the next upcoming Youth Development Index.
“More than 50,000 people have been killed and millions have been internally displaced by war and violence in north-west Pakistan in the last three decades. And further held back by lack of education, patriarchal tradition and feudal customs, young women and girls have suffered even more than others” report said. Gulalai Ismail, YDI mentioned her name in the report as young change maker and a human right activist as she has established an organization, named “Aware Girls” in 2002 that aims to empower young women in the region.