Last month, a United Nations Press Release relating to world population projections estimated that “the current world population of 7.6 billion is expected to reach 8.6 billion in 2030, 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100”, an increase of around 83 million people per year if current fertility rates continue to decline. It also stated that a large movement of refugees and other migrants continues to take place globally.
In 2015, it was estimated that there were 1.2 billion youth aged 15-24 globally and according to United Nations, “By 2030, the number of young (people) is projected to have grown by 7% to nearly 1.3 billion”. They also reported that youth populations had peaked in all global regions apart from Africa, “In Africa, the number of youth is growing rapidly. In 2015, 226 million youth aged 15-24 lived in Africa, accounting for 19% of the global youth population. By 2030, it is projected that the number of youth in Africa will have increased by 42%”. This growth is expected to continue; doubling its then current level by 2060 to approximately 500 million youth aged 15-24 years.
It has long been recognised by many that youth education and employment are essential to releasing the potential of individual, collective and national economic prosperity and growth and its associated demographic return. In other words, an appropriately skilled youth population has the potential to raise a countries’ productivity and bring about faster economic growth. However, as we’ve said before, in order to release this, potential barriers relating to heath and education must be overcome. United Nations reports, “In 32 countries, fewer than 80% of 15-24 year olds were literate. Of these 32 countries, 18 are projected to see more than 40% increase in the number of youth between 2015 and 2030. In six of these low-literacy countries, all in Sub-Saharan Africa, the growth of the youth population is projected to exceed 60%.”
In 2014, it was estimated that in Niger, which had a projected population growth of 92% in the next 15 years, as little as 24% of the youth were literate. This data highlights the urgency for adequate investment in health and education so that the young can reach their full potential and effectively contribute to economic development.
Our next migration hotspot is Spain. As with most of the educational systems we have looked at so far, education is delivered in four distinct phases; non compulsory pre-school/Kindergarten between the age of 0-3, compulsory Esculela Primaria/Primary age 3-6, compulsory Secundaria Obligatoria/Secondary education which has two stages with the first being age 6-12 and then 12-16 where a secondary education certificate is taken or a bachillerato is taken which enables them to progress on to higher education.
The Ministry for Education provides a range of information and support, however it is mainly in Spanish.
Lesley Shepperson is Managing Director at Shepperson & Shepperson Consultants LTD