|Youth join a class on electricity and mechanics at the Quang Nam Vocational School for Ethnic Minority Groups. Viet Nam has entered a golden population period with the highest proportion of young people in the country's history. — VNA/VNS Photo Anh Tuan
HA NOI (VNS) — Investing in young people and safeguarding their rights is essential for their development and for their families, communities and countries.
Experts agreed to share international experiences on youth development policy at a workshop held yesterday in Ha Noi by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA), with technical support from the United Nations Population's Fund (UNFPA).
Data from the 2014 population survey show that Viet Nam has entered a golden population period, featuring the highest proportion of young people in the country's history. Young people now represent one third of the total Vietnamese population.
Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Nguyen Trong Thua said, "This presents Viet Nam with a unique opportunity for this golden period to fuel socio-economic prosperity by ensuring that every young person is educated and supported to achieve his or her full potential."
Viet Nam has accomplished many progressive achievements in youth-related issues over the years. But young people still face many difficulties and obstacles to reaching their full potential, according to Thua.
"Young people should be placed at the heart of our human resource development strategy. Youth care and development are objectives pursued by the country, as they are the driving force to ensure the country's stability and sustainable development," he said.
The national report on Viet Nam's youth, presented by Vu Dang Minh, director of the Department of Youth Affairs under the MOHA, showed that the country had more than 25 million young people in 2014, who are now between 16 and 30, constituting 27.7 per cent of the total population.
But only 4.2 per cent of them graduated from universities and higher education.
More than 10 per cent of them did not graduate from primary schools.
The number of unemployed people between the ages of 15 and 24 constitutes more than 50 per cent of the total unemployed people across the country.
The rate of unemployment in urban areas is higher than in rural areas.
Howard Williamson, a South Wales University expert on European youth development policy with 45 years of work experience in youth affairs, said that youth policy must encompass every factor of the lives of young people.
For instance, youth policy must cover schooling, preparation for working, healthcare, and other legal topics.
National policies for youth should be inserted into all present national policies, he said.
Astrid Bant, UNFPA Representative in Viet Nam, said that experience around the world demonstrated that protecting young men's and women's rights, creating conditions that allow them to complete at least secondary school, teaching them work skills to make a living, assisting them to find decent work, and ensuring their access to sexual and reproductive health and rights are all essential steps that pave the way to a fulfilling and productive adolescence, youth and adulthood.
"Naturally, this pathway requires investment. And, to be most effective, this investment requires co-ordination across sectors, as well as old and new partners," she said. — VNS