National Youth Policy preliminary draft ready by next February

|     Lyna Mohamad     |

THE review of the National Youth Policy is expected to be completed by August next year but a preliminary draft policy will be ready for consultation sometime in February, Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies (CSPS) Chief Researcher Dr Diana Cheong said.

In formulating the National Youth Policy a consultation process is important which cannot be done by one party alone, she told the Sunday Bulletin.

Dr Cheong noted that the CSPS together with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) must consult people relevant to the youth policy – the young and people working with the young including parents and teachers.

“It is important for me to emphasise that this is a study in collaboration with the MCYS. We have adopted an international formula in particular as we refer to the United Nations World Programme of Action for Youth, and we also look at the youth development index of ASEAN and the Commonwealth and also our national policy, Brunei Vision 2035 objectives to formulate this youth policy,” she added.

“I am pleased that the MCYS commissioned CSPS to review the National Youth Policy and provide and formulate an updated policy in line with the needs of Brunei Vision 2035 and beyond,” said Dr Cheong.

CSPS creates a document which includes the policy’s objectives and strategic areas of youth policy, the direction in which it should go for 2035 and beyond.

Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies (CSPS) Chief Researcher Dr Diana Cheong. – LYNA MOHAMAD

She pointed out that the project is not just a survey to formulate the National Youth Policy that is relevant for the young, but must be participatory and involves views of not only the young, but also youth leaders, youth educators, NGOs, government and non-government people.

The survey is also like killing two birds with one stone as it involves the young, the same group of people that the CSPS wants to study, for a project the CSPS is doing this year, which is to study unemployment in Brunei and to provide policy recommendations to solve the problem.

“It is actually a good and bold move by MCYS. The minister himself is into updating and reviewing the policy as we understand as times change we have new emerging issues, new emerging opportunities and threats, that need to help shape the policy so that the young can face the future in a positive way.”

The survey aims to get a statistically representative sample of young people, involving young people between the ages of 15 to 40 across all the four districts and in terms of institutional affiliation, unemployed and employed youth, young youth still in schools and colleges and so forth.

The young people are asked what are their main concerns as a young person, what are their aspirations and what are the gaps and constraints that they face in going forward.

“The survey is also necessary because within the survey, we are doing what is called a youth development index,” Dr Cheong said.

The youth development index measures the level of development of the young people across a number of important life domains such as their level of self-development, self-potential, health, satisfaction with the community, community integration and social problems. This kind of data cannot be collected from official statistics, she said.

A smaller survey will also be conducted online and will be posted within this week with about four short questions where anybody interested on youth policy can participate.

“We want views of parents, NGOs, youth leaders and teachers as the questions cover for example, what are the needs of young people today and in the future, what are their main concerns, and what are the gaps and opportunities often faced by young people today and in the future.

“We believe that the way forward to the formulation of a youth policy needs to address not just the existing or current issues but future issues, emerging issues and challenges facing young people because the world doesn’t remain static,” Dr Cheong said.

She said the study is not just to formulate a National Youth Policy but also laying down the framework for the strategic plan of a youth policy and other things apart from looking at future studies on how to implement the youth policy.

“We also need to do a lot of monitoring and evaluation.  We need to know how much we progress after the declaration of the youth policy, like on an annual or bi-annual process.”