Youths’ Perspective on the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC)

What does it mean for local youths in AMS?

<p>Youths play a pivotal role in shaping the ASEAN Economic Community’s pillars to support further economic development for the ASEAN region. It is important to understand how young people view ASEAN. In September 2021, the members of the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Youth launched a publication on Understanding How Young People See ASEAN: Awareness, Values, and Identity. The publication includes a survey which found that in general ASEAN youths think positively about ASEAN. Nevertheless, the youth of ASEAN are more concerned about poverty reduction, health and disease control, and educational barriers. This has portrayed ASEAN’s commitment toward youth involvement as ASEAN believes that youth are key to future success and act as a catalyst for economic, social, and cultural development. </p>

<p>The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the development of youths in ASEAN across all sectors as the pre-existing challenges of youth employment and educatire compounded in economic crises. Prior to the pandemic crisis, youth in ASEAN already faced a challenging labour market situation. Given their relative lack of experience, young people are around three times more likely to be unemployed as compared to adults. Youth are also more likely than adults to work in less-secure, lower-wage employment, frequently with limited legal rights, social protection and representation.</p> 

<p>Young workers in ASEAN have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic as youth employment losses were at 6.2% as compared to 2.8% for adults, driving youth into either unemployment or inactivity. This is also reflected in the increased share of youth not in employment, education or training (NEET) between 2019 and 2020 in large parts of the ASEAN region. On top of worsened vulnerabilities, the Covid-19 crisis added complications of disrupted education and training pathways due to movement restrictions and school closures. The quality of education, for instance, was impacted by school closures which directly affected more than 152 million students in Southeast Asia since 2020. There was also a disparity in access to education due to the differences in digital transformation among ASEAN member states. It should be noted that younger students tend to be more vulnerable as they lose their fundamental learning skills such as literacy and numeracy.</p>

<p>Through the ASEAN Prosperity Initiative Project 2022, this webinar aims to facilitate a conversation with youth representatives and experts to understand their views on the ASEAN Economic Community and its challenges in the next few years to come.</p>

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