KAJANG: A group of students and youths, mostly aged below 18, were given a rare opportunity to voice out their hopes and aspirations for the country’s future.
At the 2050 National Transformation (TN50) dialogue session at a hotel here yesterday, many shared their thoughts on a variety of issues such as education, children rights and health.
One student from SM Methodist ACS, Negri Sembilan said she hoped adults would pay more attention to the mental health of children.
“I am in the first class of my school and I feel the pressure every day.
“I think that when it comes to studies, we do what we can and what we want,” she said.
Another student from Tambunan, Sabah, hoped for a future in which stigma surrounding people with disabilities would be removed.
“I want able-bodied students to be educated on the potential and abilities of their disabled peers.
“This is so that they will be more open-minded and can interact freely with disabled students,” he said.
A 10-year-old from Kota Tinggi, Johor, said that she wanted cases of kidnapping and sexual abuse against children to be “totally eradicated”.
“I want all children to be safe from these crimes in 2050,” she said.
The dialogue, themed “Children Are Our Future”, was opened by Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim with Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin as the special guest.
Among the 500 over participants were members of the Children’s Representative Council, young “parliamentarians” from the Mini Parliament television series and students from all across the country.
Later, at a press conference, Khairy said children needed to feel “safe and protected”.
“Some of them expressed their concerns about human trafficking with kids as victims.
“Others want a value-driven economy, fuelled by kind and civic-minded citizens who are empathetic towards the needs of the less fortunate,” he said.
He added that an education system which was holistic and that cultivate the potential and talent of students was also raised.
“This is one of the most important sessions we’ve ever organised in our series of TN50 dialogues.
“They are our target group and stakeholders that will become the generation of TN50,” he said, adding that some 62 aspirations were compiled, making it the highest number so far.
Khairy said the TN50 dialogue has become an important platform for the younger generation to talk about what they want to happen in the next 30 years.
Rohani said her ministry viewed children as an important target group under the TN50 initiative.
She said the programme could boost the mental capacity of participants, develop leadership skills and help build their characters.