AMMAN — Almost a quarter of the population is aged between 15 and 24 years, with 17.7 per cent of them working and contributing to the economic sector, according to a Department of Statistics (DoS) study.
Issued on Monday on the occasion of International Youth Day (IYD), the study indicated that 1,347,680 of the Kingdom’s 6.5 million population fall within the category of youth.
The DoS study attributed the low percentage of economically active youths to the fact the majority of this segment is still receiving education in schools or universities, noting that a survey conducted in 2011 found that some 29.9 per cent of young people are unemployed.
The Phenix Centre for Economic and Informatics Studies also issued a study on the occasion of IYD, observed annually on August 12, urging the government to reconsider its strategic economic plans to meet the aspirations of the younger generation.
The study, which was prepared in cooperation with the German Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung office in Amman, also urged decision makers to focus on the 15-24 age group as this segment represents the main element that will shape the future of society.
Highlighting obstacles hindering young people from joining the labour market, the centre said the poor quality of the education system and the mismatch between its output and the needs of the local market were to blame.
“The poor quality of education impacts their basic skills thus making them incompetent to join the workforce,” the report said, adding that the government should reconsider the higher education system so it corresponds to the needs of the local market.
“The development approach that has been implemented over the past two decades negatively impacted the middle and lower classes of society and increased the poverty gap, forcing impoverished families to send their children to work at lower ages than those stipulated by the Labour Law,” Ahmad Awad, director of the centre, told The Jordan Times on Monday.
Awad noted that imbalances in the labour market also contribute to worsening the situation, where young people have to compete with guest workers who accept work conditions and lower salaries that are unacceptable to local residents.
In December 1999, the UN General Assembly endorsed a recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, 1998) that August 12 be declared International Youth Day.
The theme of IYD 2012 is “Building a Better World: Partnering with Youth” — a global call to action to develop and engage in partnerships with and for youth.
“Young people today face pressing global challenges such as high levels of unemployment, vulnerable working conditions and marginalisation from decision-making processes,” the UN said on the IYD website.
“Partnerships — with the United Nations, governments, the private sector, civil society, academia and philanthropists —– can help increase opportunities for success by leveraging comparative advantages, resources and shared interests.”