Tuesday 28 May 2019

Nigerian government adjusts youth age classification

On May 24, 2019, the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development launched the Revised National Youth Policy, 2019 with youth stakeholders in Akure, Ondo State.
The review was due for review in 2014, however due to various challenges, the policy review process was not completed till 2019. 
 In the 2019 Policy Foreword, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung, quickly points out that, ‘A major thrust of the current review is regarding the age bracket for the classification of youth from existing grading of 18–35 years to 15–29 years. The review is informed by practical empirical analysis and the need to promote the appropriate targeting of desired beneficiaries of intervention programmes for the youth rather than adults masquerading as youth.

The New Age Classification has no doubt raised a lot of eyebrows and questions. In understanding the New Age Classification, it's important to note that the UN, for statistical consistency across regions, defines ‘youth’ as those persons between the ages of 15 and 24 years, without prejudice to other definitions by member states. Similarly, the Minimum Age Convention (1973) set the general minimum age for admission to employment or work at 15 years. The new age classification is also closely tied to the Not Too Young To Run Act which was signed into law in May 2018. 

The Ministry of Youth and Sports Development which oversees the National Youths Service Corps also raises questions on the eligibility age of participating in the scheme which is for youths. This raises a question if the age for participating in the scheme ought to be reduced in line with the new age classification as well. The National Association of Nigerian Students, the National Youth Council of Nigeria and the Nigerian Youth Parliament must also adopt the new age classification. Furthermore, political parties and their youth wings and leaders must adopt this classification from the ministry.

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