Narrowing the ‘GAP’

AAYLF delegate from Myanmar Khin Phyu Syn Kyi explores the gaps that exist in development, opportunity and economy that unfortunately still exist and how young people can help bridge these gaps.   

Gap. This is not a clothing brand that we are going to talk about. This is about a large issue that almost every country is facing. Development gap, opportunity gap, economic gap. How many people have been affected by this gap? The rich become richer, the poor remain poor, the educated become more educated, whilst the uneducated remain the same. We have been demanding a better change for the world but what use it is if we cannot reduce the gap between the highest and the lowest? 

Opportunity Gap: Personal Experience 

As a student born in the economic city but studying in a city that is far from urbanization, I myself have experienced the big gap. In the place where I study, there are not many opportunities for youths to improve themselves. However, most students in my university have no idea of what they are losing as a student because they are all used to just going with the flow. When we try to get opportunities on our own, we are not supported by the elders. For example, I have tried to apply to an exchange program and the exchange program requires a transcript as a part of the application. When I ask the administrative teachers to get a transcript, they do not give out the transcript just with a simple reason that the exchange program is not related to the government. This does not happen in the universities in the economic city. Universities there support and prepare what is necessary to apply to exchange programs whether they are related to the government or not. This is only a mere example of true personal experience of how students in the economic city and those outside the economic city get different opportunities even though they are all students studying in the same country.

Australia’s “Close the Gap” 

In Australia, there is a social justice campaign called “Close the Gap” that aims to achieve health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by the year 2030. This ‘Close the Gap’ includes targets to reduce the gap on child mortality, early years education, children’s literacy and numeracy, school attendance and completion, employment and life expectancy [1]. The targets may seem challenging but the Coalition of Australian Governments (COAG) has determined to put the targets into action. COAG committed $4.6 billion towards Closing the Gap in November 2008, for projects in health, housing, early childhood, economic participation, and remote service delivery [2].

Narrowing the development gap in ASEAN 

Not only in the countries themselves, but also among ASEAN region, there is a development gap between newer and older members. To narrow this, the ASEAN leaders have agreed to launch an ‘Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) since 2000. Widening of the development gap between the older ASEAN-6 members and the CLMV(Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam) countries could undermine regional solidarity [3]. 

Youths to narrow the gap 

As we all know, youths are the ones who are responsible for the future. Therefore, it is in the hands of the youths to narrow the gap in our residing countries as much as we can. So how can youths be of help in narrowing the gap? We should intensify our efforts instead of just staying in our comfort zones; such as helping uneducated children by volunteering to teach them what we know and what we have learnt. The question is, will you become a part of narrowing the gap?


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