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(From April 2004)

Rieko, Japan  

Dear all,

I am Rieko from Japan. I also participated in the Youth Forum and General Assembly held in Singapore as a youth volunteer from Kobe YMCA (Japan).  

Recently, I had a chance to take part in Creative Writing Workshop sponsored by Ecumenical Asia Pacific Students and Youth Network (EASY Net) held in Taiwan. Actually I came back from Taiwan yesterday. APAY is one of the components of EASY Net. The participants from each organization( CCA, IMCS, IYCS, WSCF, W-YWCA, APAY) did a lot of creative work that will be printed in a resource book for Asia-Pacific Students and Youth Week 2004.   I would like to share one of my works during this workshop with you all. Please open the attached file.   I would also like to express my opinion about education based on Adolphus's input.   In addition to Sheila's and Wenxu's opinions, I personally think that a critical thing in any education is:

1) To raise power to think critically what is going on now, what we have done before and what we should do in the future,

2) To raise values that emphasize the acceptance of various diversities and differences

3) To raise tolerance.

Through the education it is desirable for all the youth to acquire the power to find their own ways for realizing PEACE, I think.  

That's all for now.
I'm looking forward to hearing from you all.    

Felician, Sri Lanka  


Thank you Sheila for throwing a few thoughts on Education. I believe the questions Adolfus raised too will serve the basis for the discussion.

I agree with the saying that the formal education has its vacuum in providing the basics for the development of full human persons.

I admit that in the context of Sri Lanka we have been experiencing this tragedy. Even though the literacy rate of Sri Lanka is much higher (around 84%), this has not given much impact. We see students who score higher marks in exams and persons attached to educational circle involved in violence.

The leading politicians who ruined the country too were students of leading universities in the world. They made use of the ignorance of the ordinary people to achieve their petty political gains.

All in all, the formal education system offers recognition in paper at the same time fails to form morally good characters in persons.

It is also, another observation in Sri Lanka that the children are under stress due to the academic demands in the schools. It's often a cause for the children not involving them in extra curricular activities. The same applies for the participation of student population in the YMCA.

Therefore, we have the responsibility to offer opportunity for informal education. Such education should focus on personality development, spiritual enrichment, skill development and promoting moral values etc. Paving way for healthy minds.

Of course, the methodologies may be of workshops, camps and outdoor activities etc. still they should be of youth friendly on the contrary to the traditional approaches.

Wen Xu, Singapore

Hi all,

I am wenxu from Singapore. I just participated in the recent youth forum, great to hear from Sheila, Amy and Christina again ; ) The Singaporean youths have been getting together to try to execute the plans we set out in the forum, hope the rest from other countries are doing the same. Anyway, regarding the issue of education I agree with Sheila that REAL education is sorely lacking today. In Singapore especially, education is equated to studying and certificates. The environment is extremely stifled and non-conventional forms of education on non-academic fields are not recognized as being of value. But there has been a lot of recent effort to correct these forms of thinking although progress is slow, especially on redefining what education means. As for what education is necessary for, I think its important that everyone has equal access to information and resources and being able to formulate their own opinions from these in order! to have a society where everyone can participate on an equal basis.

Ok that's all for now. Oh and I encouraged some of my youth YMCA members to sign up for the youth net. They have not gotten any reply for a long time after trying to sign up thru the website. Anyone knows how to go about doing this? Thanks!

Sheila, Malaysia

Dear Adolphus,  

This is Sheila from Malaysia. Actually I have been trying to comment on the topic brought up earlier but it was so wide I didn't know where to begin. :-) Now with much focus questions, I hope I'll be able to contribute "something" to this discussion. :-\   To my fellow youthnetters:   Yes, I agree that most of the issues/problems faced by our youths today points back to the fact that we are lacking in terms of Education. When I say education, I am not only referring to formal education and paper qualification (although I am not saying that it isn't important as well). Youths today also lack in terms of Religious education, informal education and so forth. They are more focused in obtaining paper qualification that they do not have the time to brush-up on their spiritual and emotional aspect.   I believe that if they are able to obtain a Holistic form of Education (as stated by our mission: Body, Mind and Spirit), they will be able to become better people and thus reducing some of the major problems facing youths today (drug-addiction, juvenile crime etc.). The saying "youths are wasted on the young" is sometimes true. We have so much to learn and give from/to the world but at the prime of our age (when we should be working towards a Holistic lifestyle) we only seek what is needed to fulfill our materialistic desires (Paper qualification, highly paid job etc) without giving any priority whatsoever to other aspects of our life (eg. inter-personal relationship, spiritual growth, emotional growth and stability). The YMCA should seek to continue providing youths with what the government may lack in terms of informal education.   That's all for now.....Would love to have your thoughts...   Cheers    

Adolphus, India/UK  

Hi Youthnetters,

I was trying to pull something together for our discussion on Education. Well I couldn't go much further as it looked too broad as I went in. Here below are my initial thoughts  

1) Most of the issues facing young people points back to 'EDUCATION' or 'EDUCATION' can be a solution for most of our issues (Do you agree?)  

2) How can Education be a solution to our Issues?  

3) Why we need Education?  

4) What exactly do we want?  

5) How much do we want?  

6) Where do we want to go with this Education?  

7) How do we get it?  

8) What is stopping us?  

9) Back to the first question.... dose it solve anything?  

I know it is too raw to be chewed, but if any of you have any thoughts please comment

Cristina, Philippines

Hello Youthnetters,

Welcome to all of us!

In response to the call of keeping an open line communication for us young people of our region,  the youthnet is once again at your service.

o begin with, let us focus our attention to one of the major concerns raised in the recently concluded Youth Forum. The issue on youth unemployment and education.

Based on the shared ideas, there is evidently an increasing  number of young people of our time who form part of the unemployed and even the underemployed ( underemployed:those who accept even the jobs which are not related to their graduate course and are of lower salaries). . Though the experiences come in various forms (i.e.working as factory workers, domestic helpers, care givers even if they are university graduates or ended up as young migrant workers who are faced with poor and hazardous working conditions),  the reality is that we are faced with the difficulties on how to cope with this challenge. Thus it is important that we involve ourselves in accessing the situation we are part of. 

We therefore invite you to share your experiences in this concern. What for example is the present statistics of youth unemployment in your place?  What do think are the major factors of unemployment?

Do you think the education system we have has contributed in this situatuion? Are we prepared to accept the reality or even the idea that after spending 15 or more years in school and investing much money, we will become one of those who are unemployed? How much more the underpriviledge young people?

Our participation will attest our commitment for a deeper and continuous sharing, exchanging and expressing of ideas on issues which concern us.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Tu Thuy, Vietnam

Xin chao,

I'm Uong Tu Thuy from Vietnam, who would like to post about the issue "Education" raised by Shella with some points:

  • Promoting opportunities to study to young people who are really in need and are capable.
  • Building knowledge on a firm belief and ethical standards to guide the youths in today's dangerous and endangered world.
  • Planning long-term strategies on educating young people: from helping them to find a suitable program to using them after graduation on our purposes.

My friends, these are my raw thoughts about EDUCATION. Please do correct me if i look like heading for some wrong direction in thinking, everyone!
I hope to hear from you all in no time. HAPPY EASTER ! Thuy.

Adolfus, India/UK

Happy VISHU to all YouthNetters (It is Malayalam New Year Day Today!)  

The following lines are carry forward from the views expressed by youthnetters in our earlier discussion which overlaps with the current topic.

"Youthnetter thought Education never equipped young people for real and Education especially higher educations (due to privatisation) which is already expensive is going more inaccessible for many. Also the system is too competitive and stressful.."  

Which if elaborated will itself point out that The Education system was never tailor made for young people It didn't not transform them to what they wanted to be Education becoming very expensive Higher Education becoming more inaccessible There is cut throat competition. It is stressful  

Cristina: You may have some plans how to carry on from here... All the best!!

Sheila: I will send you few pics on the address that you've given as soon as I get back home; I've got some nasty ones..

All YouthNetters: It is really great to be a part of this Unique Group.... most of us never had met each other, but do get in serious discussions! Please.... please don't worry about your language; this is our group and as long as you write to the group you are STARS!!  

Kind Regards

Cristina, Philippines  

Hello there,

I hope everybody's doing fine. This is Christina of the YMCA of the Philippines. Those who have participated in the recently concluded assembly might still remember me.

By the way, I wish to express my intentions to volunteer in moderating the discussion in the youth net. Hope to hear from all of you....

Warm regards

Shella, APAY

Hello everyone,

Before you start thinking that we got lost in Singapore after the Youth Forum and General Assembly, here's proof that we are back here in Hong Kong. We actually had a good experience this week when we participated in the World Alliance (WA) Executive Committee.  

We have joined the WA Youth Committee meeting and now I am thinking how we could integrate some of the concerns raised there in our discussions here.  

First, please, let me present (electronically, at least) the participants of the Youth Forum 2004. If anyone has a clearer version of the attached photo please post it for everyone to see.

Also, I have attached the messages from the YF and the 16th General Assembly. I think these documents will help us in planning for our discussions as well as our involvement in our YMCAs.

I wrote a short email to the yet to be completed Youth Committee of the APAY on how we could proceed with our discussions.

There was a suggestion to take up one of the issues identified in the Youth Forum. By the way, the issues that we raised during the "barometer" exercise were somewhat similar to those identified by the youth forum participants. Please go to the archives for reference.   There was a suggestion to take up the issue of education for the next two months. Please let me know what you think about this suggestion. If you have other things in mind, please drop a note and we, as in, everyone of us, can talk about them.  

At this point, let me invite a volunteer to moderate our discussion.

As usual, we will exercise mutual respect during our deliberations. In responding to the emails, kindly mention your name or nickname, your YMCA and your country. You may also include your photo to remind people how you look like, hmmnn..  



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