Europeanisation meets democracy from below: The Western Balkans on the search for new European and democratic Momentum (WB2EU)

Kosovo’s youth: Overcoming challenges and creating opportunities, Fiona Kelmendi, ÖGfE Policy Brief, 09’2023

Kosovo has a unique demographic and a window of opportunity for capitalising on it, which will be closed sooner than expected if no action is taken. Over half of its population is under 30, whereas the current key indicators relating to human capital development are very low, with education outcomes being the most concerning. On the other hand, whether in creative entrepreneurship or in electoral process participation, young people in Kosovo demonstrate a clear willingness to become active citizens. In order to give them the tools to thrive, targeted interventions in the education system are urgently needed, as research confirms that education is a key factor in individual empowerment. This Policy Brief focuses on three ways to foster youth empowerment by addressing a few key challenges in education: improving the quality of education, building essential skills in formal and non-formal education, and encouraging active participation in decision-making from an early age. It includes short-term as well as long-term policy recommendations for nurturing civic participation and building a progressive society that will lead Kosovo into the 21st century.

Policy Recommendations

  1. Kosovo needs to make significant investments to improve the quality and equality of education as a main driver of personal empowerment.
  2. Both formal and non-formal education need to incorporate the teaching and nurturing of essential life skills that will enable children and young people to meaningfully participate in a democracy.
  3. Youth empowerment should be fostered through active participation in decision-making from an early age by institutionalising youth engagement and participation in schools as well as in local and national policy-making.

The Policy Brief is published in the framework of the WB2EU project. The project aims at the establishment of a network of renowned think-tanks, do-tanks, universities, higher education institutes and policy centres from the Western Balkans, neighbouring countries and EU member states that will be most decisive for the enlargement process and Europeanisation of the region in the upcoming years. The WB2EU project is co-funded by the European Commission under its Erasmus+ Jean Monnet programme. The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Photo: Pexels

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