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Adolescents and youth

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© UNICEF-Indonesia_050906_Josh Estey

Indonesian youth - a foundation for the future  

Young people aged 10 to 24 years (65 million) account for 28 per cent of Indonesia’s population, and they include 48 million adolescents (10 to 19 years). This group represents an important foundation for the nation's long term growth and development but faces a number of specific challenges.

National literacy rates are high with an overall rate of more than 99 per cent. However, there are notable geographic differences. For example, Papua Province reports a literacy rate of less than 80 per cent and 12 other provinces have rates below the national average.

Although literacy rates are high, adolescents in secondary school are still at risk to drop-out of school because of financial issues, pregnancy or marriage.

According to the most recent data from the National Statistics Office, abound 1 in 4 girls are married before the age of 18 and around 300,000 girls are married before age 16 every year. Girls from poor households are more than twice as likely to be married young and child marriage in rural areas is considerably higher than in urban areas.

These studies also show significant differences in child marriage rates between different provinces and districts where child marriage rates can be much higher than the national average. For instance, girls in in West Sulawesi and Central Kalimantan, where child marriage rates are highest, are more than 2.5 times as likely to married young as in Jakarta and Yogjakarta where rates are lowest.

Despite achieving middle-income status as a country, nearly a third of adolescents are stunted, while about a quarter are not in any form of education, employment or training. Girls’ participation in the labour market is significantly lower than for boys.

Indonesian youth are disproportionately exposed to a number of specific risks compared to other groups in society. Data shows that adolescents have limited knowledge about their reproductive health and AIDS putting them at high risk of having unwanted pregnancies or being infected by sexually transmitted infections including HIV.

Studies also indicate that young people in Indonesia are exposed to serious levels of bullying violence at school, in their homes and in their communities. This includes physical violence and sexual abuse. However, there is a lack of comprehensive and country-wide data.

Agents for change

The 65 million young people in Indonesia are also a formidable force for national advancement and will be key to Indonesia achieving its global sustainable development goals. Forming 28 per cent of the population, this new generation of adolescents is increasingly well educated, socially mobile, and digitally connected.

They hold huge potential for Indonesia’s economic growth and to be a driving force of social progress through positive change, influencing future generations, their families and their communities in a meaningful way.

UNICEF programmes are helping build key competencies among adolescents, such as critical thinking, creativity and leadership while the use of social media and new technologies such as UNICEF’s U-Report platform offers many opportunities to increase youth participation in public discussions about the issues that they face and how to face them.

By giving young people the opportunity to share their concerns, especially around emergencies and climate change, and to identify solutions for the problems they face, they can be empowered to take advantage of opportunities, fulfil their potentials and shape the future of Indonesia.

 

 
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