The United Nations points out the way to improve education and employment within this group

Young people are called to lead the transformation of a society that is developing at a speed never seen before. But to do this, the public administrations must put together policies that will help them take part in this development through education and employment. This issue is one of the biggest challenges faced by States. Peru is one of them and has been the subject of a United Nations report entitled ‘Challenges and Priorities: Adolescent and Youth Policies in Peru’.

With 36% of the population aged 10 to 29, adolescents and young Peruvians “must be the priority population when designing development policies and they should have a greater say in decision-making processes”, according to Maria del Carmen Sacasa de Ventura, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Peru, during the presentation of the report. As the article mentions, “the social and political insertion of this population group is an urgent need today: inclusion will not only have an impact on their overall development, but will also have a positive impact on the country’s well-being and growth indicators”.

The report provides an in-depth analysis of five issues that the State must improve regarding this group: School dropout rate within the mandatory age, Young people who do not study or work, Violence, Suicide and Teen Pregnancy. For each of them, after a rigorous analysis of data and programmes, the report sets out a series of challenges together with proposals and actions.

Dropping out of school and ‘NEETs’

Regarding school dropout rates, which reached 31.5% in 2015 in cities and twice as high in rural areas, some key factors were identified, such as poverty, teenage pregnancy and violence within schools. The UN added another cause: poor educational infrastructure and quality in villages. The proposals put forward include the stabilization of the budget assigned to each educational level, the development of educational infrastructure, especially in rural areas, or a life-long education and supervision system for teachers to alleviate quality deficiencies.

The NEET issue is linked to the school drop-out rate. NEETs account for 17% of adolescents and young Peruvians aged 15 to 19. The reasons are different between men and women: the main reasons are economic problems (51.4% and 35.9% respectively), and the second is housework, where the differences increase significantly (3.1% for men and 26.5% for women). Two of the challenges mentioned in the study to reduce these rates are the development of a training programme involving medium-sized and large enterprises and with a defined job offer, as well as the establishment of incentives to encourage companies to hire young people.

The United Nations is confident that this report will, in the words of Maria del Carmen Sacasa de Ventura, “serve as a tool to promote dialogue among adolescents, young people, government, private enterprises, civil society and international cooperation. The shared goal is that every adolescent and young Peruvian shall fully fulfil their rights and dreams, and that they shall become the driving force that will generate the desired changes”. “For Peru to achieve the 2030 Agenda, it must improve its adolescent and youth policies with a focus on rights, gender and cultural relevance. Doing so will speed up the full and sustained development of the country and ensure that no-one is left behind”, she added.