COVID-19 and Youth in Bangladesh
The Three Challenges
Against the background of the above, the key objective of the present paper is to explore the contemporary concerns of the youths in the context of the pandemic in order to illuminate the national recovery agenda. Systematic engagements of the Citizen’s Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh with the young people have brought to the fore the aggravated challenges in the following three areas: i) employment, ii) education and skill development, and iii) digital access5. These three issues were also highlighted in the “Youth Declaration” adopted at a National Conference of the Youth in 2018 (Youth Conference, 2018). Perception surveys and structured investigations have revealed that the opportunity for job placement and skills development have further narrowed for the youths during COVID-19. The pandemic has fast-tracked the digitisation of many essential services, including education and employment opportunities. Regrettably, the youth population, who previously did not have digital access, have become further marginalised in the process. The slowdown of economic activities, leading to a significant drop in family income, has also resulted in a higher dropout from educational establishments, particularly for female students.