IPOH – The Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah urged for greater efforts to be made to develop appropriate education strategies that take into account the impact of technological advances to youths thus ensuring that the future generations continue to flourish.
In addition, His Royal Highness noted that much greater investment must be made into the expansion of alternative employment because youths now faced various challenges especially the shrinking of employment opportunities.
The Sultan noted apart from demographic factors, employment was also under threat from new technology where some futurists believed that current advances in robotics and artificial intelligence would create mass unemployment.
“Machines can now be programmed to conduct tasks that involve mental as well as physical skills and can even be programmed to deliver professional services.
“While the impact of these developments is hard to predict with any certainty, this ‘technological unemployment’ is likely to exacerbate greatly the problems created by the youth bulge,” Sultan Nazrin said in his keynote address when opening the 3rd World Conference on Islamic Thought and Civilisation (WCIT) 2016, here today.
The WCIT 2016 with the theme ‘Future World’, beginning today until Thursday, is a biennial conference addressing contemporary issues and had been organised by the Universiti Sultan Azlan Shah (USAS) since 2012 with participants coming from more than 15 countries.
The Sultan said the development gained, which had benefitted many in past decades, were in danger of being eroded by the sheer weight of numbers as many developing countries experienced a ‘youth bulge’.
“Efforts must be made to protect these gains and promote further development, as we are doing here in Malaysia through Vision 2020, with its focus on strengthening human capital and further expanding the middle class.
“Shrinking in employment opportunities, whether from growing demographic pressures or technological advances, also present a significant set of risks for today’s youth,” Sultan Nazrin said.
The Sultan said youth accounted for around a quarter of the global population, with an estimated 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24 and that were disproportionately concentrated in developing countries, where nine out of 10 young people live.
Sultan Nazrin added great strides had been made across the world in terms of health and education provision over the past generation and some Muslim-majority countries had seen improvements of 25 per cent or more in that indicators since 1990.
Countries with significant improvements could be found across the Muslim world, from Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan to Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco and throughout the Middle East and here in South-East Asia in Malaysia and Indonesia, the Ruler said.
His Royal Highness said generations had benefited directly from the advances which were accompanied by rising incomes that were intimately linked as strengthened human capital contributed directly to economic productivity. – BERNAMA