WE observed the International Day of the Youth day before yesterday with a call to invest in them. Since our young men and women are the engine our nation's development the importance of such investment need not be overemphasized.
One often overlooks the unique character of our youth. It is such a segment of the population which, given the right direction and provided the right environment, can become a very important resource for the country's progress. Conversely, absence of proper direction and an appropriate ambience for their fruition, the youth can become a severe liability and serious impediment to the nation's development.
It is a matter of fortune that Bangladesh has more than half of its population aged below 30. It is quite a remarkable endowment, and when many countries have to cope with the consequences of an ageing population we wonder whether we have appropriate strategy to harness, train and guide our young generation who are patriotic, innovative and constructive, to assume the responsibilities in different fields to lead the nation to its desired objective.
We feel that we have not done enough in this regard. What is woefully lacking is a youth-focused development strategy and relevant programmes to implement that. And that is perhaps because there has not been a proper appreciation of the youth potential of the country, a potential that we consider a blessing for us.
We should abjure the traditional approach that we have been following so long with regard to youth development and formulate an innovative programme. And perhaps in this regard there may be need to revisit the terms of reference of the Ministry of Youth and Sports.