The youth of Singapore is a strong and crucial movement in which it will shape the future of the nation. Represented by various groups and agencies, this is the age group that has been very vocal and influential in moving the country forward through development and growth.
Movements and Organizations for Singapore Youths
There are several organizations and agencies that are actively involved in the development and progression of youths in Singapore. These organizations operate through various initiatives that are designed to give the youth the avenue to express themselves and to grow together as a community, thereby helping to build a better future for everyone.
National Youth Council
The National Youth Council or NYC is an autonomous organization which was set up in 1989 by the Government of Singapore. This agency serves as the coordinator for affairs related to the youth in the country. It is also involved in managing any international youth relations and issues. It comes under the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth of Singapore. The NYC oversees 2 institutions namely:
- OBS or Outward Bound Singapore
- Youth Corps Singapore.
The NYC basically carries out efforts and initiatives that connect the actors involving the youth and their interests. It is also involved in programmes that help to develop holistic youths through cultivating positive skills and values. This is done through various efforts including funding, initiating, organizing and many others. This includes the below:
- SHINE Programmes – Covering the likes of SHINE Live, SHINE Creators and SHINE Conferences
- Young Changemakers – Involved in community projects and a platform for social innovators to connect.
- Singapore Youth Conference
- Youth Conversations
Youth.SG is an active and dynamic online portal that is designed for the youth and managed by them. It is considered to be the contemporary voice of the young in the country, providing news about entertainment and what is trending. As an online platform, Youth.SG is able to share the issues and perspectives on the welfare of Singapore youths, especially in the fast-changing living styles and environments. Among the sections that help to achieve its objectives include Campus Blogs, Opinions and Current News.
Outward Bound Singapore
OBS has been around since 1967 where it has since provided their activities to more than half a million youths in Singapore. The OBS operates in Pulau Ubin where it is a major advocate for outdoor programmes and educational initiatives. The organization is involved in developing the mind, heart and imagination of the youth through its outdoor adventure courses and other programmes.
Youth Corps Singapore
The Youth Corps Singapore is an organization and youth movement created to drive the youth through programs and efforts that push for positive change and a healthy environment. This movement was established in 2014 by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth with programmes designed for those between 16 and 35 years of age. Its programmes are built on the concept of volunteerism and to promote and cultivate these mindsets among the young.
What the Youth today should know?
The Singaporean government has always prioritized the youth of the country, putting in place countless programmes and efforts managed by capable organizations. In their latest Unity Budget, there were new initiatives to help the youth build on a stronger future. Among those that they should be aware of includes:
- Prepping them for working life – A one-off $500 SkillsFutur credit which is valid until 2025 to help them learn new skills so that they can be more competitive.
- Living cost subsidies – The government will be giving out a one-off cash payment between $100 and $300 for those above 21 years old to help with the living cost due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
- GST adjustments – The initial plan to increase GST (Goods and Services Tax) from 7% to 9% is on hold due to the pandemic.
- Education assistance – The Ministry of Education, through its Finacial Assistance Scheme will be giving out an extra $100 for pre-university students from lower income families. There will also be subsidies for transport as well as meal subsidies for secondary school students.
- Environmental issues – The government will be pushing for more research in urban solutions and sustainability which was derived through a pre-Budget conversation with more than 200 youths.
The SG Youth Action Plan
The SG Youth Action Plan was established in 2019 which is an initiated for Singapore 2025. This is the platform where the youth of today can create ideas, contribute to society, be heard and take appropriate actions of crucial issues of the community and nation. These plans can provide new opportunities for collaborations and partnership that can effect change and for the youth’s voice to be heard including issues such as mental health, education, jobs and future of work and any other support required.
Prioritizing Mental Health for Youths
We are now living in the age of disruptions. The COVID-19 pandemic is just one of the major occurrences with many more that is causing a lot of issues with the youth. It is time to put more emphasis in addressing the issue of mental health among this group.
- In the 2010 first Singapore Mental Health Study report, it was found that 1 in 8 Singaporeans would have gone through some form of mental disorder. In 2016, it is 1 in 7 Singaporeans.
- The main concern here of the rising number is mostly on the youth of the country. According to experts, the youth years is the time where one is most prone to face mental disorders.
- In the 2018 Youth Conversation poll held by the National Youth Council, the online poll showed that mental health is the top concern.
- In the 2018 World Economic Forum, it was found that Singapore Youth is among the most pessimistic ones on the impact of technology on their job and earning prospects among those in Southeast Asia.
- ‘Future uncertainty’ was stated as the main source that causes stress among the youth.
There is now more awareness among the youth on mental health and that is a positive thing. However, the current landscape is one with disruption and that is where the youth must not neglect the importance of mental health. As such, being able to cope with these changes could be a major driver of stress. The youth today might not be prepared for such sweeping changes.