1.0 Background

Virtual Conference – Resilient Youth in a Post-Pandemic World will take place in a challenging context. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is substantially affecting education and training sectors worldwide in two ways:

  • Institutional level. Lockdown measures have led to the worldwide closure of institutions and skills development organizations. UNESCO estimates that nearly three-quarters of the world’s learners were affected by school closures across education levels. As distance education and training become the norm, the annual IYDC will be held online.
  • Systemic level. The economic recession triggered by the COVID-19 crisis is causing a massive rise in un- and under-employment that could have a lasting impact on essential livelihoods. Transformations in the labour market will also result in changes in skills demands. The university needs to address the short- and medium-term impact of the current pandemic, in scaling up solutions for developing relevant skills in UTAR undergraduates and formulating responses that reflect long-term sustainability.

Moving forward, it is important to

  • Ensure that undergraduates continue to have access to quality education and opportunities in a digital and urbanized world.  This requires innovative institutions that can adequately provide distance learning and flexible learning pathways, and enable youth to participate in developing cities that are inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.
  • Identify future skill needs and develop responsiveness to short-, medium- and long-term impacts. Skills development stakeholders need to anticipate and respond to shifts in demands for labour-market skills as the predicted economic crisis unfolds and we understand the impact of the current pandemic on existing challenges, including youth unemployment, climate change and the transition to greener economies.

Digital Transformation plays a crucial role in helping businesses and institutions to recover from the pandemic and continue to grow. Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how the world operates and deliver value to customers. It's also a cultural change that requires organizations to continually challenge the status quo, experiment, and get comfortable with failure.

Urban Living. The world is more densely populated than ever before. More than half of the world’s seven billion people are under the age of 30, with almost 90 per cent of them living in developing contexts. Globally, young people are on the move, often migrating from rural settings to urban locations, seeking employment and better opportunities. Looking at the demographics in urban settings, particularly in developing contexts, urban populations are very youthful and becoming increasingly so. As our cities are populated with more young people, they find themselves presented with tremendous of opportunities. They are also filled with more energy, creativity, innovation, skills and knowledge – just what our cities need to solve the pressures and challenges they face and engagement of young citizens that is essential for good governance, economic growth and private investment. Young people’s participation in the life and decisions of a city is a right and an important benchmark of social inclusion.