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Lost in Translation: (Mis)Understanding Youth Engagement

I was reviewing Lost in Translation: (Mis)Understanding Youth Engagement (.pdf) – a discussion on why youth are “increasingly disenchanted with formal political institutions and practices”. My thoughts turn to how the changed youth relationship to government play out in the educational space. For the most part, we can opt out of voting without any real immediate impact. Obviously, after a period of many years, not having the voice of youth reflected in government will certainly have an impact. A large percentage of the population is not being heard and dissatisfaction of those affected will eventually spill into some form of action. Education is a bit different. When we decide not to pursue higher education, we are impacted almost immediately – loss of opportunities, restricted opportunities for work, etc. Over time, I think the impact of lack of participation in politics or education is likely the same (assuming that many of our current societal structures continue to exist – i.e. accreditation isn’t provided and accepted by institutions other than colleges and universities). This quote in the report says much about how government and education should related to the younger generation: “Youth are not disconnected from politics; it is political institutions, practice and culture that are disconnected from youth” (report via Stephen Downes)