LAHORE - Dr Adil Najam, Dean of the School for Global Studies, Boston University and former Vice Chancellor, LUMS spoke at the Centre for Governance and Policy, ITU yesterday. 

Dr Najam is the author of the Pakistan National Human Development Report and he spoke about the main focus of the report this year titled “Youth”.

Dr Najam noted that 64% of Pakistan’s population is under 30, second only of Afghanistan in the region. Therefore we need to focus on its issues before it is too late. He noted three questions: ‘What does it mean to be young in Pakistan?’; ‘Is the youth a demographic boom or bust?’ and ‘Who will decide the future of those who will decide the future of this country?’

To address the three questions, Dr Najam identified three key three levers of change: education, employment and engagement. In education he said: ‘Often I am more concerned about the students in school than the ones outside it.’

‘After all the students who were killed in charsadda were not much different in age than the ones who massacred them,’ Dr Najam noted. He further explained that the current rate of growth in education enrolment is about 1%: ‘At this rate it will be 2076—long after I am dead—to achieve full enrolment,’ he exclaimed.

Dr Najam then showed a chart which had mapped Pakistan’s youth in a room of about a 100 people. ‘Some statistics shocked me,’ Dr Najam exclaimed. For example, only 12% of the population has twelve years of education, only 38% of youth indulge in any physical activity, and nearly 60% of the youth did not want to hear others talk about religion.