Message from The Honourable Shamfa Cudjoe,
Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs,
on the commemoration of International Youth Day 2019
Citizens, Trinidad and Tobago again joins the global community in commemorating International Youth Day (IYD), which highlights the integral role that youth play in developing societies and the importance of addressing issues that affect young people around the world.
Under the Theme: “Transforming Education” the United Nations (UN) is seeking to examine how Governments, young people and youth-led as well as youth-focused organizations are making education more relevant, equitable and inclusive for all youth. Education remains a powerful tool as we work towards achieving the goals established in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
News from around the world and statistics remind us that despite global efforts to secure universal access to education for young people, a large percentage of young people in several countries remain out of school due to gender, disability, race, poverty and even lack of safety.
As one the fifteen youth priority areas in the United Nations World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY), Education plays a critical role in diminishing social ills and creating positive changes in society, from crime and poverty reduction, to gender equality and economic expansion. Education also ensures that our young people are able to competently function in a rapidly-changing society and can compete globally.
The Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is cognizant of the need to revolutionize our education system not only to be more inclusive and accessible, but also more relevant and worthwhile to today’s young people who are now living in a dynamic global community.
The Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs, as part of a collaborative approach to addressing youth issues, has embarked on a number of initiatives geared towards educating and empowering our young people, in keeping with the 2019 IYD Theme and the WPAY. Our initiatives include:
- The Global Campaign for Youth Employment which promotes research, training programmes towards preparing young people to pursue entrepreneurship and work towards becoming job creators rather than job seekers. The School Enterprise Challenge is a major part of this initiative and the MSYA now facilitates the participation of 12 of our local schools in this international project.
- LEEAP.... provides comprehensive education and training towards the personal and professional development of our youth, and the creation of more well-rounded global citizens. To date MSYA has conducted 9 cycles with over 400 participants across Trinidad and Tobago.
- The AIM High programme which advocates Apprenticeship/career training programs, Internships for acquisition of work experience and Mentorship to guide our youth, is intended to encourage entrepreneurship in various sectors by combining practical occupational training with technical experience. AIM 2019 now has 40 participants between the ages 16-29.
- The ‘40 under 40’ programme which provides a platform for our youth to be supported in the areas of personal and professional development, by offering them opportunities to engage with young “movers and shakers” who are icons, established entrepreneurs, entertainers, and sportsmen. This programme showcases the various opportunities and avenues availed to our youth, and helps to improve their outlook on life in securing a brighter future.
The Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs is focused on increasing meaningful youth engagement and participation in key areas of concern: education and training; employment and enterprise; gender relations; and health.
According to Dutch humanist Desiderius Erasmus, “the main hope of a nation lies in the proper education of its youth”.
As parents, leaders and government, we all have an obligation to provide quality education to our young people. Let us create opportunities to teach and harness the vast potential of our youth, thereby ensuring the promise of a better future for them and a more prosperous tomorrow for us all.
On this International Youth Day, the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs reminds all citizens of its commitment to youth development and youth empowerment. We will continue to create an enabling environment which promotes and encourages youth participation, a better quality of life for our youth, and their holistic development. I wish you all a happy International Youth Day 2019. May God continue to richly bless our nation!