Every young generation is the society’s promise for a better future. Governments should consider young people’s education, skills and potential as top priorities and key elements to achieve economic, political, and scientific and social development. They are fundamental investments to improving society that respects human dignity and human rights.
All around the globe, political leaders and policy makers, should be known that special attention should be paid on this important issue. Many political campaign speeches and social sciences studies have stated that quality education is the solution to unemployment. Governments, therefore, should focus on these two areas. Nevertheless, in developing countries, these two areas have been widely overlooked.
Mexico is a country with a promising young generation that could bring many things into discussion, if they are given the opportunity. Contrary to many countries that are struggling to enlarge their young population, half of the Mexico’s population is composed by people of 26 years or younger. This could bring society the opportunity of consolidating a generation of entrepreneurs, scientists, intellectuals and hardworking people to bring the country to the next level of development and prosperity.
According to studies developed by the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development, Mexico is ranked as the third country with the largest population of people in the ages between 15 and 29 years old who don’t have jobs or working. This represents a quarter of Mexico’s youth (more than seven million Mexicans). This study also reveals that the “NiNi” phenomenon – a term used in Mexico to describe young people who are neither studying nor working – impacts more young women than young men.
The world financial crisis has made things worse. There are now many young people that have finished higher levels of education and hold bachelor’s degrees, but are unable to find a job. This forces them to take jobs below their skill levels which diminishes the overall labor productivity. This situation creates a lack of incentives, making college students less prone to continuing their careers or looking for higher education levels.
What is then the proper response to this problem? A first response should be higher national investment in education and technical skills of young people. Although the Mexican government has destined more money to this area than in previous years, we are still below the educational investment rate of other Latin American countries. Furthermore, young people should take more. Creating more small and medium businesses that create job opportunities and motivates students not only to be a part of the workforce but also to be part of the job creators instead of being just job seekers. As the government ought to be investing in education, young generation ought to be playing their part too – through active entrepreneurial spirit.
By Ana Linda Perabeles Alarcón, a WYA member in Mexico. Follow her on Twitter: @anaperabeles