Microsoft, IYF seek to close ‘opportunity divide’
DEVELOPMENT| March 27, 2012, 8:52 p.m.
Microsoft has announced a commissioned report from the International Youth Foundation, Opportunity for Action, which documents the growing economic and social challenges facing youth around the world and the urgent need to provide the education, skills and employment opportunities required for them to succeed in today's rapidly changing global economy.
The report underlines the emergence of an opportunity divide among young people worldwide.
On a global basis, the unemployment rate for youth is currently 12.7%, or more than double the 6% global average for unemployment as a whole. While some youth are prospering, many others who lack access to education, skills and opportunities face growing challenges. As the global youth population of 1.2 billion — the largest in history — grows over time, the gap risks widening even further between those with opportunity and those without.
The Opportunity for Actionreport documents the nearly 75 million young people, globally, who are unemployed and the varying causes for rising youth unemployment in different parts of the world. As the report shows, currently only 44% of youth worldwide pursue education as far as the equivalent of the high school level in the United States, and even fewer complete secondary education. This is especially concerning given the increase in jobs globally requiring higher levels of skill and education. In the United States, for example, it is estimated that by 2018, 62% of the workforce will require some college education, yet today 16% of American youth ages 18-24 fail even to complete high school.
There are varying causes for the opportunity divide around the world. Latin American youth have greater access to education than ever before, but there are low education completion rates across the region. In contrast, there are a growing number of youth in the Middle East and Africa with university degrees who find there are no jobs to match their advanced skills.
And in Sub-Saharan Africa, where 23% of children are not even enrolled in primary school, young people are grossly underemployed in low-skill, low-quality jobs and 72% earn less than USD2 per day simply to survive.
In response to the report findings, Brad Smith, Microsoft executive vice president and general counsel, said, "While the reasons for the opportunity divide vary country by country, the global trend is unfortunately the same everywhere. As the International Youth Foundation reports, unemployment has been on the rise for young people worldwide. More than ever, the public and private sectors need to work together to provide youth with access to education, skills, and better job opportunities. We must move from 'opportunity divided' to 'opportunity provided' for all."
For the past decade, Microsoft programs and partnerships have helped millions of young people worldwide create a better future for themselves through investments in education, skills training and programs that provide access to job opportunities. The International Youth Foundation report indicates that there is more work to be done.
"History has shown us that when young people thrive, society prospers. The data in this report show us that far too many young people today are struggling, and the reasons why. We must act now so that the world's youth have the opportunities they need to succeed in the 21st century workforce. Our collective future depends upon it," said William Reese, president and CEO, International Youth Foundation.
Microsoft is working with governments, nonprofits, industry colleagues, educators and youth themselves to close the opportunity divide. A first step is shining a light on the problem through the IYF report and learning more directly from young people — through a series of upcoming conferences and events in different regions of the world — about the best ways to help. The company is incorporating the insights gained from these discussions into its work to develop new plans to improve youth access to education, skills training, and communities where they can create and seize real-world opportunities.
MORE DEVELOPMENT NEWS
Airtel beneficiary wins best practices awardFood for All Ghana Campaign, a food wastage and food recovery project by Chefs for Change Ghana Foundation in partnership with SAVE FOOD, (an FAO Global Initiative for the reduction of food loss and wastage) has been recognized with an award for “Best Practices” by the Government of Dubai. Read More
Airtel funded biogas plant wins regional awardAirtel has received regional recognition for the CSR Initiative of the year nearly a year after the company commissioned the Immanuel Afrika’s (I-Afrika) biogas project in Kikuyu, Kenya. Read More
Fairscape Precinct recognised for excellence, innovation and technologyBotswana Development Corporation’s headquarters, Fairscape Precinct, has been awarded two Fulton Awards by the Concrete Society of South Africa. Read More
Dimabi School renovated By Tigo Shelter 4 Education projectTigo Ghana has presented its fourth school block to the management of Dimabi Nursery and Primary School in Tolon Kumbumgu of the Northern Region. Read More
Tigo Rwanda and Reach for Change launch the Changemakers HubTigo Rwanda and Reach for Change have launched the Changemakers Hub. This hub, located at the Tigo Headquarters in Muhima, will provide office space and resources for applicants and current Digital Changemakers. Read More
Airtel employees mentor Kinder Paradise Home studentsAirtel Ghana, has organized a motivational mentorship seminar for students of the Kinder Paradise Home at Prampram near Accra. Read More
Obeng Yaw L/A School benefits from Tigo’s Shelter 4 Education projectObeng Yaw, a community in the Upper West Akyem district of the Eastern region is the latest to benefit from Tigo’s Shelter for Education project. Read More
Vodafone supports deployment of SnooCode for Ghana Ambulance ServiceGhana National Ambulance Service teams across the length and breadth of the country will now find it easy tracking the location of victims during emergencies using SnooCode’s “CodeRed” mobile application. Read More
MTN Foundation supports health campaigns in CameroonThe MTN Foundation in Cameroon has handed a considerable stock of medication and medical equipment to ASCOVIME to improve medical treatment provided to rural communities. Read More
Kumasi set to host Tigo Yensor Nkoaa Grand finale.After 90 days of giving away generators, power banks, rechargeable lamps and power invertors, the Tigo “Yensor Nkoaa “ promo is inching closer to the grand finale. Read More
FEATURED STORYYoung innovators shine during pitch sessions
Botswana saw an array of upcoming tech wizards selling their ideas during the Vendors’ Day pitch sessions this week.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHHigh tech homes: Just press play
High tech, digital homes where everything is automated and connected aren’t the stuff of science fiction any longer, says BNC Technology.