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Youth under COVID-19 pandemic

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The entire world is ensnared in the imbroglio of an unprecedented uncertain gust of the Pandemic. A number of countries are grappling to dribble out of this morass hence failed in many aspects. Pakistan is no exception. When Prime Minister Imran Khan clinched office, he was welcomed with a simmering economy but he was quite confident and ardent to drag it back on track. It was the first time – witnessing the gravity of the situation of the economy – he sought help from the IMF to give the economy a trivial nudge to gain the pace oblivious to the smoke of Corona waiting at the door soon to bombshell the government.
So, the Corona is swaying for an epoch of almost one and a half years and is still swirling over the head with more egregious fallouts with frequent mutations. As the IMF was voicing trepidations that the global economy would shrink by 4.4% in 2020, the bomb of anxiety and depression fell upon the youth. The Global Risk Report by World Economic Forum published in May 2021 furnished some very serious concerns for youth. The report manifested that already neglected youth will continue to bear the brunt of the effects of Corona be it education, mental health, rising inequality, or most crucially employment.
The report warned of the next lost generation. What does lost generation mean? It means the generation came of age at around the time of World War-I,however; Strauss-Howe’s generational theory defines the lost generation as the cohort born from 1883 to 1900. The next lost generation means the generation came of age between the plunge of national economies globally 2007 and 2009. According to the Global Risk Perception Survey (GRPS) “youth disillusionment” is a top neglected risk that will become a critical threat to the world over the next two years.
Some have lost their jobs; some are at the brink of losing their jobs, and then the generation – mostly fresh graduates – who are hardly seen to be employed. According to the statistics, the rate of unemployment in Pakistan stood at 4.45% during the year 2020. The year 2019 marked an increase in unemployment i.e. 4.45% making it 1% more than the year 2018 which was 4.08%. Many have embraced the bitter tradeoffs in the shape of low-paid jobs while some have agreed to internships which further added to the gravity. Moreover, lack of aboriginal consideration has accounted for the white-collars to flee out of the country in order to pursue better opportunities.
To dial down the pervasion of Corona, the closure of school supplemented the solemnity for youth. For instance, as per the report, pre-pandemic figures include almost 44% of girls and 34% of boys did not complete primary school. Ramshackle education system further added to the fragility. The first wave drove 80% of students globally out of the schools. Then an introduction of remote or virtual education was another issue for 30% of students as they lacked the technology to participate in digital and broadcasting learning.
In Pakistan, girls were affected the most as their schooling time was mostly squandered doing the household chores. Girls already driven to the wall were further sidelined by the havoc wreaked by the Corona. This gave birth to many domestic problems such as underage marriages of girls. No one knows for how long yet unknown long-term effects of Corona will continue to loom and when people will get a sigh of relief.
The world at large needs to devise a global strategy to confront the devastation precipitated by the novel coronavirus because it is a collective good. Many people across the globe are losing their lives by getting affected by the Virus but a large chunk is losing the race of their lives by not getting enough livelihoods to survive.