Feb 23, 2021, 1:37 PM
The youth population constituted 690,836 at the time of the 2013 Population and Housing Census representing 37.2 percent of the total population.
The 2013 Census report continues to highlight the youth characteristic in the following revealing manner: There were slightly more female youth than males—52.8 percent and 47.2 percent respectively.
Of a total youth population of 690,836, 12.0 percent were aged between 13 and 14 years, 31.0 percent between 15 and 19 years, 26.6 percent between 20 and 24 years, 23.1 percent between 25 and 29 years and 7.3 percent aged 30 years.
The age distribution by sex follows a similar pattern.
The youth are almost equally distributed between urban and rural areas—50.1 percent in the urban areas and 49.9 percent living in the rural areas.
However, slightly more male youth lived in urban areas—63.0 percent, in contrast with 60.3 percent of females due partly to sex selectivity of migration with males more likely to migrate than females.
Females out-numbered males across all ages and geographical location except for Banjul LGA where there were slightly more males than females. Information on educational attainment of the youth is important for gauging the quality of the labour force.
Educational attainment of the youth has been analysed considering three aspects namely—those who have never attended school, those currently going to school, and those who attended in the past.
Overall, 32.1 percent of the youth have never attended school, while 33.0 percent were attending school at the time of the census, and 34.9 percent attended in the past.
It was further reported that the developing world is witnessing a youth bulge, especially in sub-Saharan Africa with its concomitant demand for education and employment.
These two variables are closely linked as one’s level of education largely determines their employability and employment status.
Hence the need for greater opportunities to develop skills that are needed for participation in the labour market increases with increasing youth population.
It is therefore important to have a clear idea about the educational attainment of the youth to determine the extent to which the supply of skills matches the demand.
Thirty-two percent of the youth have never been to school, 16.0 percent attained primary education, and 23.0 percent lower secondary while 24.0 percent reached upper secondary level. Only one percent had vocational education and three percent reached tertiary level.
Except for primary education, female youth lagged behind males at all levels of education.
Research has shown that majority of African youths are either migrants or potential migrants, largely due to lack of employment or quality educational opportunities or simply out of despair.
Young people who persistently abuse substances often experience an array of problems, including academic difficulties, health-related problems (including mental health), poor peer relationships and involvement with the juvenile justice system.
Fatou Juka Darboe, co-founder and director of Make 3D Company Limited, the first and only 3D printing company in The Gambia, and Isatou Foon, a young tour guide from Janjanbureh, are both using technology and tourism to transform their communities.