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Education and youth in 2019

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When the PTI assumed power in 2018, the youth had played a decisive role in its electoral success. The youth had hoped that the coming year would be the year of change for them; but sadly by the end of 2019 there have only been promises, prompting a large number of youth to come out and stage marches in various cities of Pakistan.

In the last week of November, the youth in over 30 cities in Pakistan prepared for the march. In addition to major cities such as Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, and Quetta, dozens of other cities also witnessed the mobilisation of students at a large scale. On November 29, thousands of students and youth gathered and took out marches to clamour for the fulfilment of their demands. They raised slogans and displayed placards and banners. One of the major demands written on the placards was a question asking about ‘who is responsible for the 25 million out of school children in Pakistan?’

This question made it clear that the protesting youth were not only interested in their own rights, they were also concerned about the large number of out-of-school children. This question reminds us of the basic contradictions in our society where only the privileged segments of society enjoy the fruits of education and the children of the poor are neglected. Another slogan raised by the youth was about the provision of jobs failing which the state should provide at least Rs20,000 to each unemployed young person. This demand is in response to the failure of the PTI government to fulfil its promise of generating 10 million jobs for the youth.

Many leaders of the PTI such as Murad Saeed and others had repeatedly promised that as soon as Imran Khan comes to power there will be millions of jobs for the youth. Sadly, not even a few thousand jobs have been offered to the youth.

Moreover, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry has now clearly backtracked by announcing that providing jobs is not the government’s responsibility and the youth should not look up to the government in this regard. Such somersaults have compounded the miseries of the youth.

Another good aspect of the Youth March was that it attracted leaders of former student organisations and unions, human-rights activists, and workers’ leaders too. From Gilgit-Baltistan to Gwadar and Karachi, male and female students raised their voices. The students from Balochistan demanded that they should not be treated as terrorists. They also........

© The News on Sunday