Youth unemployment is one of the most perennial challenges faced by many of the world's most developed nations, a top policy concern that has been the focal point of global development goals.
With parliamentary elections less than a month away on November 26th, many candidates are scurrying for the ever so crucial votes of the nation's youth, a segment of society seen as the decisive factor for this year's elections.
Moreover, as the youth head to the polls on election day, the issue of unemployment is sure to weigh heavily on their minds. According to national statistics, the unemployment rate in the country stands at 19.40 percent.
In an effort to get an inkling on how this year's parliamentary candidates plan to remedy the burning issue of youth unemployment, KUNA spoke with a number of candidates in the Second and Third Constituencies to get their vantage points on the best possible solutions to address this problem.
In the Second Constituency, there appeared to be a consensus on who to put the onus on, as the candidates that KUNA had spoken to there laid the blame on the Civil Service Commission (CSC).
Two candidates in this constituency opined that the CSC should undertake more initiatives to provide jobs for the nation's youth, in collaboration with the public and private sectors. Recently, the CSC had announced its decision to stop recruiting expatriates under its services category, in a measure to make room for an influx of national college graduates.
Furthermore, they urged greater expedition in sorting through the employment process, where it is not uncommon for applicants to get employed more than a year after they had submitted their employment applications.
Meanwhile, KUNA spoke to another pair of candidates in the Third Constituency, who offered varying perspectives on how to deal with the issue of youth unemployment. One candidate extoled the National Fund for Small and Medium Enterprise Development (SME), an endeavor that aims to combat unemployment and buttress youth ideas.
Furthermore, another Third Constituency candidate made similar remarks, as he encouraged young entrepreneurs to translate their ideas into viable projects that will be financed and supported by the SME. "That way, we can ease the burden on the CSC to employ thousands of young citizens," he argued.
He also underscored the need of closer cooperation between the public and private sectors, pressing the latter to make more efforts to lure youth employees in an attempt to create a "more level playing field." As election day inches closer, the nation's youth remain hopeful that the next National Assembly will deliver on lofty promises.