The youth as an important constituent of every nation represents the hope of that nation. Fully aware of this fact, the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) is delighted to be associated with the United Nations, the global community, and more importantly the Ghanaian youth to mark this year’s International Youth Day on the theme: “Youth Engagement for Global Action”.

In seeking to engage the youth, the theme highlights ways in which the engagements of young people at the local, national and global levels are enriching national and multilateral institutions and processes, and also draw coherent lessons on how their representation and engagement in formal institutional politics can be significantly enhanced.

In Ghana, young men and women essentially represent a significant portion of about 60% of Ghana's population (National Youth Policy, 2014). There is no doubt that the youth is enriched with energy, vitality, talents, and abilities that could be tapped into developing this country.

The NCCE is concerned with the vulnerability of our youth, who are the hope of the nation. Recent events in Ghana and the reaction of our youth leaves much to be desired. In fact, it is unfortunate that the majority of our youth are indisciplined, wayward, quick-tempered, and disrespectful, with others becoming addicted to drugs (Lucia Bird’s Domestic Drug Consumption in Ghana 2019 report). It is even worrying to see a host of them being recruited into vigilante groups within the country and being involved in nefarious and criminal activities. Rather than offering guidance to our young men and women, some influential members of our society prey upon them. But must we leave them to their fate or work with them to help them become their best?

As a society seeking to develop and improve upon our economy, we still have a lot to gain from the youth by mobilising their creativity and passion, recognising their unique perspectives, and prioritising their present and future needs at every level of our national development. The Commission is of the view that protecting our youth is not enough, but to engage and include them in the decision making process and meaningful development activities in their localities and at the national level is imperative.

Moreover, the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic poses to our country indicate that we require concerted action on all fronts. This means we need the participation of young people in sustaining the fight against the disease.

It is a fact that enabling youth engagement in formal political processes increases fairness, transparency and reduces democratic deficits, as well as contributes to better sustainable policies, and to a larger extent restores trust in public institutions, especially among the youth.

We are aware of the provisions of the National Youth Policy which provides the opportunity for Government to address the hopes and aspirations of the youth as integral part of our socio-economic development efforts and to engage the youth in a meaningful way.  Definitely, the establishment of the National Youth Authority Act 2016 (Act 939) to develop a dynamic and disciplined youth imbued with a spirit of nationalism, and a sense of public service and morality, would be better served if all segments of the youth are engaged.

While entreating the youth to be wary of politicians who may use them to foment troubles in the upcoming Presidential and Parliamentary elections, the NCCE reminds the youth to examine all political messages critically without attaching emotions to them.

As citizens and leaders of tomorrow whose future starts from now, the Commission urges the youth to uphold the democratic values of the rule of law, discipline, integrity, respect, service responsibility, hard work, and tolerance to help further Ghana’s democratic gains.

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