Youth and Education

Youth and Education

Have we ever pondered why youth always been heavily linked to education?  Why are they so significant that big organizations such as UNESCO keep an eye on them?  What really is their ‘affair’?  Before we start with this little journey, firstly, we need to define what youth is in this context.

“The foundation of every state is the education of its youth” – Diogenes [1]

Youth is best understood as a period of transition from the dependence of childhood to adulthood’s independence and awareness of our interdependence as a members of a community.  However, since age is the easiest way to define this group, the United Nations, defines youth as those persons between the ages of 15 and 24 years [2].

One significant fact:  Do you know that nearly half of the world population are under the age of 25?  In other words, our beloved Earth have about 2.9 billion of youth!  Imagine how scrumptious is a half bucket of KFC or how rich is a gentleman with half a billion dollars.  Yes, half is huge, half is plenty!

Little that we know, nowadays, some of the youth are having a stern ‘relationship’ with education.  Education is defined by Merriam-Webster as the knowledge and development resulting from an educational process [3].  Based on a report from United Nations YOUTH [4], there are several shocking facts that we, as those who seek a better future, should be acquainted with:

  • 6% of the world’s youth (15-24 years old) are non-literate
  • Data from 2011 indicates that in developing countries, the percentage of non-literate youth is 12.1%, with South and West Asia standing at 18.5%
  • In 2013, about 225 million youth, or 20% of all youth in the developing world, are “idle” – not in education, employment or training
  • As of 2010, an estimated 61 million students of primary school age – 9% of the world total – are out of school

“give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” – Maimonides [1]

Yes, those facts highlighted above are shocking!  These prove that a noteworthy number of youth are currently struggling with education.  In fact, most of us know that education is the key to development and improvement of the lives of young people globally, yet, little has been done by the community.  Since this Youth and Education ‘relationship’ has been noted to be particularly disheartening, it has been identified as a priority area in internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals and the World Program of Action for Youth [4].

Instilling a good quality of education to youth is important especially in eradicating poverty and hunger, and in promoting a sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth and sustainable development.  Hence, we need to increase our efforts in education accessibility, quality and affordability as it is one of the keys for a better future!  There are several guidelines highlighted by United Nations YOUTH [4] to tackle this problem:

  • Enhancing the quality of education and training
  • Promoting non-formal and informal education
    • Non-formal: providing a more fully rounded and skills based approach, equipping youth to meet the competing demands of work and personal life
    • Informal: widen participation in education and training for reasons of social inclusion and economic advancement
  • Transforming and expanding skills acquisition
  • Providing alternative learning opportunities to vulnerable youth

“the philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next” – Abraham Lincoln [1]

In a nutshell, we, as the so called the fortunate ones, should do our best to share our experience, education and love to those in need.  The sad truth is we are still way behind in getting this problem fixed, especially in our beloved country Malaysia.  Projek Kalsom cares about this and we act as a stepping stone in abolishing education inequality.  In fact, our objectives are aligned with resolving the issues emphasized above.  However, we lack of manpower and hence supports from the community are much needed.  We would like to encourage everyone to join us as facilitators this year as we really need your expertise to help us fight against education inequality!  Together we can do more!

A small act of kindness creates an endless ripple.  So, start small, start simple!


Danial Zulkifli

A lost soul who finds light from the Kalsom beneficiaries.




[1]        “Education Quotes at BrainyQuote”, BrainyQuote, 2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 28- Mar- 2016].

[2]       “Youth – Definition | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization”,, 2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 28- Mar- 2016].

[3]       “Definition of EDUCATION”,, 2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 28- Mar- 2016].

[4]       “Youth and Education”, United Nations YOUTH, 2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 28- Mar- 2016].

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