JIS News

The National Youth Policy, which sets out a common vision and framework for youth development, was tabled in Parliament yesterday (June 28) by State Minister for Education, Youth and Culture, Dr. Donald Rhodd.
The document titled, ‘Jamaican Youth Shaping the World’ is the country’s first comprehensive policy on youth and was developed from the draft national youth policy (1985) and the 1992 paper, ‘Vision of Youth’.
While targeting young people, the policy recognizes the need to utilize the life-cycle approach to strengthen the development of Jamaica’s human capital. “It “defines a common vision and a framework for youth development. It articulates the responsibility of youth in their own growth, underscoring their participation in the decision-making process while increasing the capacity of stakeholders in youth development to make available more accessible, relevant and high quality services”, Dr. Rhodd said.
“We are indeed clear in our minds that this policy is a landmark achievement in charting the way forward for sustainable national youth development,” he said, adding that, “the policy presents an opportunity for Jamaica to facilitate the development of an environment that optimizes the potential of each young Jamaican”.
Cognizant of the need to provide an environment suitable for the positive development of children, the policy supports provisions for the care, development and protection of children as was outlined in the National Policy on Children (1997).
The policy is a collaborative effort between the government of Jamaica (GoJ), the private sector, donors and stakeholders. The process was supported by the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Commonwealth Youth Programme.
The National Youth Policy will be supported by a National Strategic Plan for Youth Development, which will act as a guide to its implementation over the next five to 10 years.
The GoJ anticipates that the document will aid in fostering a culture conducive to youth development and provide the opportunity for active participation in decision-making regarding activities that affect the lives of young people.
While targeting persons in the 15-24 age group, the policy recognises the need to utilise the life-cycle approach to strengthen the development of the country’s human capital. In this regard, it acknowledges that there is a continuum between the stages of physical, emotional and psychological development of human beings and that these changes are most pronounced in the early stages of life.
The National Centre for Youth Development, in its effort to develop the best framework for fostering positive youth development in Jamaica, utilized a broad consultative process in revising the 1994 policy and the development of the current document.
This comprised regional consultations involving youth, community groups and organisations, meetings with government, non governmental, quasi-government agencies, representatives of the local and international donor communities and the private sector were carried out over two years across the island.
Six areas were developed for the policy including: education and training, employment and entrepreneurship, health, participation and empowerment, care and protection, and living environments. These were established due to a number of issues, which were identified by young people including education, unemployment, crime, illicit drug use and trade, teenage parenting and the need for meaningful activities and opportunities.