If I was young again, I would like to be a teenager in this generation, as the opportunities afforded to them are a fraction of that afforded to us in our day. The incredible burst of new technologies and new ideas and the communication and disbursement revolution enables them to do many more with so much less.
Sadly few if any of the youth of today realize their good fortune, as they have no point of comparison, that we have, and so are wasting their limited growing up years in ways that they will regret with hindsight. One would say that this argument is one that can be used for each generation, but due to the advances in technology in the past 40 make the past 400 years pale into insignificance.
The poor quality of education at all levels and all forms including international schools, and the poor communication between parents and their kids adds to this void, which with the paucity of English, they cannot take full advantage of what the world has to offer them at their literally fingertips using media such as the Internet and mobile technology, without leaving their own village.
With this technology, I would expect today's young people to be mature, to be able to take control of their lives and make decisions for themselves, none of which I can see in my extensive dealings with young people from all socio economic classes of our society.
The unwillingness to accept ideas and suggestions from those with a lot of experience, is also an issue, and that is part of the upbringing that has failed them in respect for authority and belief in their advice. Empowering them is insufficient as they do not know how to use it to their advantage.
I have a point of comparison with the outside world, and I can say with confidence that our young people though more intelligent are no match for the life skills that are thrust upon young people in other countries from where they excel. People use examples of Sri Lankans who have gone overseas and who have excelled in their fields there when they showed little potential back home. Those are the exceptions, as they are so frustrated back at home, they have a natural urge to show of their skills, and the opportunities to do so arise only overseas. They then take maximum advantage of them once they are able to get out.
We must not just look at the export of our best human capital as a way to get the best for the youth, as they will take it to their host countries and benefit the mother country only marginally. We must look at this issue holistically to identify what it is we want from them and then how we are to achieve those goals, but they have to come from the youth themselves to have ambition to achieve and perform, which the culture itself does not assist in.
To make a point of how wasteful our young people are, in the villages they just phone random numbers and when someone from the opposite sex answers, they start up a conversation and try to begin an anonymous relationship based on lies. I have encountered many young people in this practice, which while ok as some form of entertainment for lack of anything else to do, is just a nuisance when viewed as compulsion. The peer pressure to do so based on brownie points builds a value system that is wasteful and a way of doing something the parents have no idea is happening.
Sri Lanka has only about 7 more years of a youth bulge, before the population begins to age, and if we do nothing we will waste this resource and it will be forever, and I believe those who can affect a change just do not have the desire to do so based on their personal agendas that do not have the country's best interests at heart.