Razakar volunteers share their experiences from their youth consultations
Having reached over 1,000 young people across Pakistan, our Razakar Programme volunteers shared their experiences of these youth consultations with us. Their insights and recommendations on education, employment and engagement will be analysed and incorporated into the upcoming National Human Development Report (NHDR).
Volunteers from our Razakar programme conducted over 100 youth consultations in their communities between June and August 2015. The programme brought together motivated volunteers from all four of Pakistan’s provinces and regions, including Gilgit-Baltistan, FATA, and AJK. Volunteers from the United Nations Volunteers (UNVs) programme also partcipated. Together, they reached more than 1,000 young people across the country. The insights and recommendations they shared with the NHDR team – on education, employment and engagement – will be analysed for inclusion in the National Human Development Report.
To thank our volunteers for their inspiring work, we held an Award Ceremony on International Youth Day. Our aim was not only to celebrate their initiative, but to invite them to share insights from their consultations. Key concerns that surfaced during our discussion included the poor quality of education, outdated school curricula, and a lack of trust in young people by their communities.
- The quality of education is a persistent concern. ‘There is no emphasis on intellectual development,’ explains Zaraf Shah Durrani, a volunteer from KP. ‘The entire emphasis is on textbooks, appearing in exams, and rote learning.’
- Youth feel that the curriculum taught in schools is outdated and does not equip them with skills required by the job market. ‘Our education is not according to the market requirements,’ reflects Majid Hussain, from Malakand in KP. They feel that employers prefer students from prestigious English medium schools. This places poorer students, who can only afford to attend Urdu medium schools, at a distinct disadvantage in the job market.
- The volunteers identify a lack of understanding and trust in young people, on behalf of their parents and communities, as a major source of youth disengagement. ‘If we want to engage in politics we are told “you are only kids, what do you know?”; if we want to engage economically, no capital is given to us; and if we want to engage socially, our families simply do not trust us,’ explains Lubna Shahzadi, a volunteer from Punjab.
Despite these concerns, the overwhelming message was one of hope. Discussions with our volunteers affirmed that although young people in Pakistan feel marginalized, they are positive about their futures.
Key insights from Razakar volunteers’ reports on their youth consultations
Most active volunteers with their shields on International Youth Day