Road to 2030
The panel session on the Co-operatives Road to 2030 was a build up to the co-crafted Youth Statement. Speakers from countries like Bhutan, Canada, New Zealand, Africa, France, India, Indonesia and Philippines had an open discussion about empowering youths and putting youths into co-operative platforms and inculcating a co-operative business mindset.
For example, an arising social issue in Seoul, Korea, housing is too expensive for youth. Thus, parents end up loaning money to their children, even beyond their means. This in turn pushes them towards the line of poverty. Quoting an article by Bloomberg, “There are a lot more Jobless South Koreans than you think”, the unemployment rates were extremely high, which implies that the problem is apparent. Heavy debt sums are accumulated in the economy and productivity among employees are not reaching its fullest potential because people become debt-driven instead of being passionate or skills-driven.
The above issue that was brought up in the session was extremely applicable for the youth in Singapore as we face space-constraints and rising standard of living. Even adults find it hard to find a proper job with a reasonable income, and most cannot afford a house in Singapore in their mid-20s.
It was a significant problem that was brought up by the speakers and the objective of the open talk was to ensure that youths could dive into their own perspectives on social issues and find co-operative solutions to resolve or mitigate the issues.
It also seemed that the audience would be keen to ask questions and be engaged in the panel sessions. It was clearly intended that youths will walk away feeling being empowered through the ideals of youth leadership, training and exposures. When the youths are given the leadership opportunities, we could expect the opinions and ideas to hold weight and have a global impact.
Shawn Hoh & Syahmi Rohaizan
Diploma in Business and Social Enterprise, Ngee Ann Polytechnic
Ngee Ann Polytechnic Consumer Co-operative Society