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‘Strategy for youth’ is out of place and out of time

Education Minister Costas Kadis taking part in the exercise programme at the ministry

“A COMPREHENSIVE strategy for the young that was designed by the young themselves, was approved by the Council of Ministers today,” reported the Cyprus News Agency on Thursday. After the cabinet meeting, education minister Costas Kadis said that this was an important day, because after many months of work Cyprus had for the first time a “coherent and comprehensive strategy for youth, which touches all issues relating to the young.”

Two points were worth noting, said the minister – that the strategy was devised by the young with the help of the Youth Board which consulted more than 3,000 youths. The second point was that the state “made a commitment to implement the strategy.” It is quite amusing that the minister felt obliged to point out that there was a commitment to implement the strategy, implying there were strategies that the government did not bother putting into practice.

The head of the organisation said the strategy provided a national vision for the youth of Cyprus, “setting targets and priorities in eight thematic fields that directly affect the life of youths.” Neither he nor the minister went into detail, as the strategy would be officially unveiled at the presidential palace on May 30 in the presence of the president. After that, “the action plan for the implementation of its provisions would begin,” Kadis told CNA.

The concept of a ‘strategy for youth’ would not be out of place in a totalitarian regime that wants its youth regimented, submissive and beholden to the state. Something that was quite normal in the former Soviet Union or then-East Germany, but it is unheard of in the democracies of the free world, in which youth are more adventurous and rebellious. Will the state offer more public jobs to youths, give them low-interest car loans, provide them with cheap air tickets or give them incentives to join political parties?

We suspect that this strategy will increase rather than restrict the dependency culture and sense of entitlement that already afflicts a large section of our youth, which labours under the illusion that the state owes them an easy and comfortable life. The strategy, we fear, would reinforce this unhealthy attitude among the young, who would have been better served by the state if they were encouraged to be independent and to stand on their own two feet.

If we had a good education system, this is exactly what it would have done – produced free-thinking, independent, young citizens that did not expect any help from the state in the form of strategies for youth. If Kadis really wanted to help youth he would be focusing on improving state education instead of coming up with a ‘strategy for youth’ that is probably intended to assist his president’s re-election drive.

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