- The Government recognizes the need for, and importance of, recalibrating the National Youth Policy.
- The Ministry anticipates that the revision of the National Youth Policy will be tabled in Parliament by early next year.
- The 2013 policy will facilitate the active participation of youth in areas integral to their own development.
Minister of Youth and Culture the Hon. Lisa Hanna has announced that the Concept Paper for the National Youth Policy has been completed. Speaking at “A Suh Di Ting Set? Reset Di Ting! Youth Dialogue for Action” a national youth forum held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on Wednesday, November 20, 2013, the Minister expressed the view that the Government recognizes the need for, and importance of, recalibrating the National Youth Policy to make it more responsive and relevant to the current challenges facing the nation’s youth.
According to Minister Hanna, the concept document which has already been submitted to the Human Resource Committee of Cabinet is awaiting approval. Following this, a draft green paper will be submitted to be approved for public consultation. Based on the overwhelming support being given so far by youth and other stakeholders integral to the process, the Ministry anticipates that the revision of the National Youth Policy will be tabled in Parliament by early next year.
When approved, the revised policy will replace one previously developed in 2004. The 2013 policy will facilitate the active participation of youth in areas integral to their own development and will focus on seven main areas: Achieving Optimal Potential/Human Development; Expanding Participation in Economic Opportunities; Creating Safe, Nurturing and Secure Environment to Thrive; Respecting Rights and Meeting Responsibilities; Providing for Young People in Special Circumstances; Capacity Development for the Youth Sector; and Cross-Cutting Strategic Issues.
Minister Hanna highlighted that the revision of the policy forms part of the Ministry of Youth and Culture’s five (5) year strategic plan, geared towards creating the necessary opportunity and support needed to propel Jamaican youth to achieving their goals. The five year strategic plan is being informed by the findings of the 2012 “Qualitative Survey on the Situation of Youth in Jamaica”. The revision of the policy is also in keeping with this year’s observance of Youth Month activities with the theme: “Reset Di Ting: The Courage to Do Things Differently”.
Minister Hanna explained that: “The Ministry of youth and Culture and its agencies are very conscious that the solution will require more than a mere programmatic shift. It will instead require a re-setting of their mindsets and of the approaches taken by the Government and various organizations.” She added: “If we are to build on the achievements of the youth who we are mandated to serve, and instill within them a culture of excellence where they will have every opportunity to achieve their fullest potential, we will have to not only ‘reset di ting’, but make sure youth believe that they too can ‘reset di ting’.”
The Minister pointed out that in order to positively change the mindset of young people the society “must provide our youth, who are talented, bold and resilient, with the meaningful support, care and protection of institutions such as the church, civil society, parents and families.”
The youth forum, which was attended by over 400 Jamaican youth, was among the main events for Youth Month 2013, and set the stage for a series of consultations and interactive sessions to be rolled out by the Ministry. One such session is the ‘Pon Di Corna Reasoning’, one of which took place in Highgate, St. Mary over the weekend. The second is scheduled for later this month in Portmore, St. Catherine.