Addressing the negative effects of the pandemic on young people was the main theme of the Co-Design Workshop for the European Year of Youth 2022, organised on 14 January by the Office of the Commissioner of the Citizens, the National Coordinator for the Year of Youth, at the PwC Cyprus Experience Center in Nicosia. The aim of the workshop was to ensure the necessary cooperation between the Ministries and Government Departments involved, as well as the associations of young people in Cyprus, in order to achieve the objectives of the European Year of Youth.
The Workshop was attended by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth, Prodromos Prodromou, the Deputy Minister of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy Kyriakos Kokkinos and the Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Anastasia Anthousi. The Workshop was also attended by Alexandra Attalidou on behalf of the House of Representatives, Permanent Secretaries and other officials from Ministries and government departments, semi-governmental organisations, the Cyprus Youth Organisation, the Delegation of the European Commission and the European Parliament Office in Cyprus, the Conference of Rectors of Cyprus Universities, as well as representatives of the Cyprus Youth Council and other youth associations.
Year 2022 has been designated by the European Union as the European Year of Youth, taking into account the impact of the pandemic on young people. The main objective is to ensure access to opportunities for the young generation in the post-pandemic period, as well as to encourage the participation of young people in the democratic and social life of the member states, in support of a more digital and inclusive Europe.
During his presentation, the Commissioner for the Citizen, Panayiotis Sentonas, referred to the objectives of the National Plan for the Year of Youth, as well as their interconnection with the European Youth Objectives, which include, among others, gender equality, inclusive societies, mental health and well-being, ensuring employment for all, improving the quality of learning, and green and digital transition.
He added that “The European Year of Youth gives us the opportunity to focus on how to re-open perspectives and opportunities for the young generation in the post-pandemic period, through green and digital transition and the implementation of the NextGenerationEU Recovery Plan”.
In his introductory speech the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth, Prodromos Prodromou, pointed out that young people need immediate support and empowerment: “Providing more and better opportunities for young people, especially the less privileged, is crucial and should be opened up at all levels: local, national and European.”
Minister Prodromou placed emphasis on the new Student Evaluation Plan, the new Education and Teachers’ evaluation plan, as well as the plan for a better match between higher and secondary education curricula.
The Minister said that some of the aforementioned reforms have been included for support in the “Cyprus-Tomorrow” Recovery and Resilience Plan, while a number of actions are being implemented by other government departments with the support of both national and European funds.
Addressing the young people who participated in the workshop, Kyriakos Kokkinos, Deputy Minister for Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, explained that actions will be developed together with the young people themselves. He added that these are “actions for the co-design of policies and broad dissemination of the importance of digital transformation for a new development model that our country needs so much, which lays the foundations for a thriving, competitive economy and a prosperous, inclusive society”.
He also referred to the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, in which €282 million, on top of 23% of the total investment, is dedicated to digitally-led actions, which aim to equip young people with the necessary tools, knowledge and skills for their personal, social and professional development.
In her address, the Deputy Minister of Social Welfare Anastasia Anthousi referred to the role of the Deputy Ministry in achieving the objectives for the empowerment of young people in the country, the most important of which is the promotion of strategies from childhood onwards. The Deputy Ministry has created the National Action Plan in collaboration with all relevant services, which will be submitted to the European Commission in March 2022.
The Deputy Minister added that the empowerment of young people in care is achieved in parallel through the institution of semi-independent living, with the aim being to implement skills development programmes in cooperation with voluntary organisations and other bodies such as the local authorities, thus broadening the prospects for professional and social integration.
Anthousi also said that the Deputy Ministry is investing through the Recovery and Resilience Plan in expanding the availability of affordable childcare centres for infants and children up to the age of 3 years and 8 months.