What’s the best way to help young people become productive citizens?
The future lies in the youth of today so countries the world over are paying attention to their development, encouraging them to learn skills and broaden their knowledge so they can play a part in leading their country along a productive path. Vientiane Times asked some young people in Laos how they were preparing to take on the challenge of leadership and future development.

Ms Oubon Xaiyasane, an official in Xaysettha district, Vientiane: I’d like to call on the authorities in every country to encourage the participation of young people in all spheres of life and inspire them. This has to start at an early age, and schools need to instill confidence in children about their potential role in life. Teachers should develop children’s skills as much as they can and give them every support. With this foundation, children will then be inspired to grow their own knowledge and build on their skills step by step. This needs to take place not only in Laos but in every country. Although I have a job I feel I need to learn a whole lot more to improve myself so I can better face challenges and contribute more to my workplace.

Ms Boutsaba Savath, a sixth year student at the University of Health Sciences: On behalf of all young people, I think I am not alone in being eager about my studies as I think education is the best way to improve my lot in life and, as we all know, learning never ends. As well as being a diligent student I try to behave well. Because I’m studying an area of medicine, I’m always on the lookout for new information to add to what I learn in lectures. I’d like to work alongside international specialists to learn even more. I hope that one day I too will be an international expert and I promise to do whatever it takes to become an international medical professor in the future.

Ms Saliphone Leuangvanxay, a student in Sisattanak district, Vientiane: I think it’s essential develop yourself in as many ways as possible so you can take on challenges, understand and get involved in politics, and learn about the cultures of other countries. There are many international organisations that focus on sharing knowledge, ability and understanding among young people around the world. I think the main youth organisation in every country should support the younger generation, especially in rural areas, and ensure they get a decent education so they can fulfil their potential and be useful members of society. It’s essential to encourage rural youngsters to participate in international exchanges rather than always giving such opportunities to young city dwellers, because they rarely get the chance to feature on a world stage.        

Mr Oley Souvannalath, an official in Borikhamxay province: Young people need to learn that it’s important to follow government policy and play a role in social and economic development. And youngsters should always try to create opportunities for themselves. For instance, in your free time you can volunteer with an international youth development organisation if possible. This kind of experience will give you new ideas and perspectives so you can improve on your weaknesses. It can also create new friendships with people from different places or foreign countries. Some organisations are very beneficial for young people and can help to strengthen your character.

By Phouthong Sivongsa
(Latest Update August 11, 2018)

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