Life, experience, tension, plans, all these words have new connotations in these 'corona days'. For almost 10 months, people have been experiencing something new every single moment. People have been witnessing the deaths of close ones, economic imbalance, losing jobs, the price hike, corruption in name of service, inhumanity and much more. People across the board are the victims of the coronavirus pandemic. The future of the world, the young generation, are being victimised too.
Young people, victims of the pandemic fallout, can be categorised in three ways - students, unemployed job seekers and drifters.
Students are considered as a major section of youth. They are badly affected by the pandemic. Schools, madrasas, colleges or universities are shut down. Students are far removed from their study materials and the facilities of their educational institutions. Some countries have started online education but this is not always proving effective. Countries like Bangladesh are not capable of providing minimum online education facilities. In Bangladesh, internet connections are not available for all students in the villages and even in the towns. Educational institutions are also not equipped to arrange online education.
Some universities tried to arrange online classes but results have not been promising. Students are not getting connected. All secondary school students are also not being connected to the television learning programme arranged by the education ministry. So the major portion of the youth are without proper study facilities. They are in uncertainty. Many secondary school students and higher education examinees in Bangladesh are yet to be informed about what is going to happen with the 'no exam, no result' prospect.
Unemployed job seekers are in a real problem. They have finished their studies but don't have any job as yet. They can't compete for any post because of the pandemic. Companies and other job sources have postponed hiring for an uncertain period. In fact, many companies are laying off their employees. Some job seekers are crossing the age to apply for government service. They are frustrated and depressed about their future and security. In some extreme cases, they are resorting to drugs, suicide or other crimes.
The most vulnerable section of youth are the drifters. They have no work. They are often involved in crime. And because of the pandemic, they are even more prone to committing crime as the confinement of the pandemic makes them all the more potential offenders.
What will be the aftermath of the pandemic?
The first two categories, students and unemployed job seekers, face unprecedented challenges to a bright future in the aftermath of the pandemic. Students are apprehensive of how to make up for the losses in their studies and return to their normal academic life. How will then attend classes to finish the syllabus and what about the exams?
Most of the job seekers are idle in these pandemic days. They were all prepared to battle for jobs, but now there is no battle. Some of them are almost crossing the age to apply for public service and they need a job badly. The competition will be hard for any particular job. Everyone is hungry to grab the position where they apply.
The last category, drifters, have to rethink their lives and livelihood. Otherwise, out of the race or normal life, they can become frustrated, violent, addicted or crime prone.
Let's hope for a better world in coming days.
Bani Amin is a social activist and law student at the University of Dhaka.