The national youth policy should be reviewed and made up-to-date to involve youths, who account for one-third of the population, in the development process, speakers at a discussion said yesterday.
They said the youths should be prepared as skilled workforce for the world job market and that the youth policy should address this issue.
The recommendations came from a national dialogue on 'Revisiting Youth Policy of Bangladesh' jointly organised by the population sciences department of Dhaka University and the UNFPA at a city hotel yesterday.
According to the Department of Youth Development (DYD), some 4.9 crore people of Bangladesh are youth who are aged between18 to 35, said Noor Mohammad, assistant representative of UNFPA, in his keynote paper.
The youths, who are being considered as liability, can be made assets with a proper youth policy, he added.
"The National Youth Policy formulated in 2003 does not address how to make youths competent for a job market. It also did not give any direction about self-entrepreneurship of youths, which could be a effective way to reduce the unemployment rate," said Director General of DYD Md Azizur Rahman.
"We need to address these issues through revisiting the national youth policy,” he said.
UNFPA Representative Arthur Erken said studies have shown that investing in the needs of young people -- education, jobs, health care, information -- is perhaps the single best way to bring benefits to society as a whole.
"Failing to invest adequately in the full potential of young people will mean losing this one-time demographic opportunity,” he said.
Secretary of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Mahbub Ahmed said youths should be instrumental in reducing poverty and ensuring development and global peace.
“We want to revisit the youth policy so that the youths would be able to assist the government in achieving the Vision 2021,” he added.
Pro-Vice Chancellor of the Dhaka University Dr Harun-or-Rashid, Prof Rowshan Ara and Prof Dr MM Akash also spoke at the dialogue moderated by Prof Dr AKM Nunun Nabi.