A youth development policy or strategy (YDP or YDS) is a holistic, positive, non-political policy document that sets out a government’s long-term investment priorities and a society’s goals related to youth. It is a framework that fosters strategic direction, consistency, and accountability in implementing measures related to youth.
A YDP or YDS is commonly misunderstood as a laundry list of measures pertaining to youth, but it should do more than this. It should provide all stakeholders with a holistic framework, based on a unifying vision, for determining all actions related to youth.
Hong Kong does not a YDP or YDS as of now. In 1989, the Central Committee on Youth recommended the colonial government to formulate a youth policy, but then Governor Wilson rejected its recommendation, instead setting up a Commission on Youth (CoY) to advise the government on all matters pertaining on youth. Read more about Hong Kong’s history here.
However, the former Chief Executive in his 2016 Policy Address invited the CoY to put forward proposals on the future direction of a YDP.
The importance of having such a policy or strategy was echoed by the current Chief Executive in her election manifesto. She further noted in her 2017 Policy Address that the Youth Development Commission (YDC) would be established as a high-level coordinating government structure in early 2018, and chaired by the Chief Secretary of Administration, to steer the direction for youth development and enhance coordination among bureaux and departments.
So Hong Kong is not far from having its first YDP or YDS! Watch this space for updates.
It offers a central vision for all stakeholders in youth development that balances the needs and concerns of young people today and the best interests of Hong Kong as a whole.
It provides a frame of reference for policy-making that cuts across sectors and breaks silos.
It shows that the Government invests in the future through caring about young people. A YDP envisions success that is achievable for every young person out there, and maps the way for applying the diverse talents of youth to build a more prosperous, equitable and inclusive Hong Kong. Read more here
If implemented by a high-level coordinating body (that is, the YDC), a YDP can engender a “Youth Perspective” in all levels of Government and in all stakeholders’ actions. A YDP or YDS plays an indispensable role in informing the YDC’s mandate, while the YDC can take forward initiatives in the YDP or YDS. The two must go hand in hand for youth development to flourish and succeed.
Many countries and regions have a youth development policy or strategy, included United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Québec (province of Canada), and Macau (SAR of China). Based on these examples, elements commonly found include: an overarching vision, an analysis of the current situation of youth, a review of existing measures pertaining to youth, stakeholders’ views and future policy directions. Read more here.
Engagement exercises followed three principles:
Through 40 focus group discussions, more than 800 youngsters, and relevant individuals and organisations were engaged. Youths came from diverse backgrounds and included secondary and university students, ethnic minorities, disabled youths, disengaged youths, sexual minors, so on and so forth.
While keeping the agenda open, engagement sessions aimed to seek youngsters’ views on six broad areas including education, work, health and wellbeing, whole person development, citizenship and civic participation, as well as creating equal opportunities for all youth. Youngsters were asked about their real-life experiences and expectations in these areas, as well as suggestions for improvement. See our photos here
To achieve the vision of enabling youth to realise their full potentials, creating fulfilling lives for themselves and a better Hong Kong, the YDP or YDS focuses on six strategic areas. Read more here