A recent sample survey on the youths of the country has come up with some interesting, though not revealing, results. The results were not revealing in the sense that the survey outcome only confirmed the general perception of the people about the issue. The survey styled, 'Youth Matters Survey 2023' conducted by a non-government body, Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC), in collaboration with the Center for Peace and Justice (CPJ), an academic institute for research and advocacy under the BRAC University, found that 42 per cent of the country's educated youths want to go abroad. Why? Because they are not optimistic about their future education or job career at home. Also, they hold the prevailing uncertainties in the social, economic and political spheres of the country responsible for their pessimism. The job opportunities are fewer than the number of aspirants competing for those. Worse yet, whatever jobs are available, in most cases, do not match their skills or fields of their specialisation. The youths among the respondents with a bent for entrepreneurship and innovation complained of a lack of opportunity to pursue such careers.
But the youths of this country did never have an ideal condition to meet their expectations by pursuing a career of their choice or getting the opportunity for higher learning, or fulfilling their entrepreneurial dreams. To be frank, the opportunities for the youths were still fewer in the past. But there was a difference in the perception of the reality among the students who were preparing for their future life after graduation.They knew that they could not expect much from the existing social order as it was based mainly on an agriculture-based subsistence economy. The resources were too inadequate to meet the needs of the youths coming out colleges and universities. But far from despairing, those young men and women were rather willing to contribute to society and even change it. Those seeking higher learning abroad, in most cases, thought of returning home after finishing their studies abroad. But this is not meant to say that the youths of today are selfish and those of bygone days were a selfless, idealistic lot. In fact, at present, the country is not as poor as it was in the past and, as such, it has at least the resources to exploit the productive potential of the majority of the youths completing their secondary, higher secondary and tertiary levels of education. But that is not happening due mainly to rampant corruption, mismanagement and a lack of an appropriate set of policies on the part of the leadership to take things forward.
Hence is one of the findings of the survey under scrutiny which points out that 88 per cent of the youths interviewed said that corruption was the major challenge before the country's advancement. Also, the existing order of things in society, with its value system eroding fast and irrevocably, thereby leaving it essentially dehumanised, thanks to the politics of the time, there is little for the present-day youths to inspire to give to and do something for society. There is also no denying that a section of youths is also being drawn into the cesspool of filth, corruption and depravity all around. So, it is hardly surprising that, aghast at such degeneration among some of their peers, the saner majority of these of youths are thinking of escaping the hellhole. Which is why the issue of personal safety concerns about 72 per cent of over 5,600 youths, who are fearful of questioning what they see beyond the accepted norm, surveyed across eight administrative divisions of the country. If the results of the survey in question are considered to be a microcosm of the entire population of the country's educated youths, then there is reason to be concerned. Especially, their apathy to participate in nation building by way of participating in the polls and thereby have their say about how the future governments should run means the nation is going to face leadership crisis in the future. The trust-deficit among the emerging leadership of society about the prevailing political system is the number one issue to be addressed by the saner section of society. In earlier days, say, half a century or more back, disillusioned educated youths would think of changing society through revolutionary means and thus make it a better place for the future generation. But revolutionary ideologies in recent times have lost much of their edge. The liberating power of digital technology is now replacing the traditional approaches to solving humanity's existential issues like food, shelter and healthcare. So, the future that is unfolding before the present generation is one of technology that is challenging and disruptive to the familiar world order. The entire world is engaged in a race to get the better of others in research and innovative use of this technology. Obviously, the current generation of the youths is inexorably drawn towards it. Bangladesh, at the moment, is badly in need of an army of youths who have knowledge of the latest advancements in digital technology. So, there is nothing wrong with the desire expressed by the youths who said they want to go abroad, learn new things and then return home with the acquired knowledge, skills and resources to serve their motherland.