Your article entitled ‘Group teaching Linden youth to be
servant leaders,’ [sic] published on August 29, 2013, discussed a very important issue, namely the initiatives being taken by the group Youth Vision in relation to Guyanese youth. Youth Vision is a key organization aimed at addressing the developmental needs of Guyana’s youth, to empower Guyanese adolescents by servicing their communities as well as the elderly.
However, the article does not address the implications of this programme for Guyanese youth in terms of the increased quality of education and future structural development required by the nation to develop in an orderly fashion. The initiatives of Youth Vision are only a start to building a better Guyana, but cannot succeed without further collaboration with other governmental and private sectors, particularly the educational sector.
It is clear that youth involvement in leadership programmes helps young people find their own personal identities and fosters a sense of self and community pride. Because studies have shown that there is a positive correlation between youth involvement and leadership with enhanced community development, Youth Vision could, if successful, have positive effects on Guyana’s economic and social development and its long-term goal of sustainable democracy. Guyana has prided itself on its education system and high literacy rates since the 1960s when it was ranked the highest in the Caribbean according to Guyana’s National Development Strategy.
However, the decline in educational enrolment at the secondary and tertiary levels has rarely been discussed. This decrease, from, according to the United Nations, being ranked 55th/181 at the primary level to 151st/181 at the secondary level, is in large part due to the lack of employment opportunities available to youths, a problem which indirectly links back to education. Labour markets grow and become more advanced once a population invests in higher education, as those who achieve more in the classroom acquire higher skilled jobs. Although Youth Vision is working with Guyana’s Public Service Minister to legitimize its efforts, the programme should not be seen merely as a means to an end. Education, along with youth involvement, must be promoted to achieve substantial gains.
Council on Hemispheric Affairs