Miss Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth what are the efforts and upcoming plans by the Government to engage youths during this pandemic so that their views, concerns and aspirations can be taken into account as Singapore plans for a post COVID-19 world.
Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth & Second Minister for Law:
- MCCY and the National Youth Council (NYC) have been engaging our youths during the COVID-19 period, through our digital platforms, to better understand and respond to their sentiments and concerns.
- During this period, our youths have been concerned about job prospect, finances, and their mental well-being. In response, NYC partnered youth sector organisations to create digital content and resources to help youths cope with the COVID-19 situation. For example, videos, articles and infographics addressing these concerns were published on Youth.sg. NYC also partnered CR8 Studio SG, a digital video channel that hired creative freelancers affected by COVID-19, to develop content to engage youths during the Circuit Breaker.
- Our youths also care about how COVID-19 has impacted our wider society, such as vulnerable groups. They see an opportunity to restate what Singapore stands for, and re-shape our society to be more inclusive, and sustainable. Many have stepped forward to organise or participate in initiatives to help vulnerable groups, and re-create social connections during this time when it is difficult to gather as we would usually do pre-COVID.
- Government and the National Youth Council will continue to enable and partner our youth, to address their concerns and also their aspirations to contribute during this time. These platforms include:
a. Youth Action Challenge (YAC), where youths can come up with innovative solutions on issues they care about, supported with funding and mentorship. The first run of YAC, held in September 2019 involved about 250 youths forming teams and pitching 57 project ideas to a panel of judges. The second run of the YAC will start this October, with a focus on COVID-19;
b. Young ChangeMakers, a platform for youths to pitch ideas that benefit the community and receive grants to implement their ideas. NYC has made it easier and faster for Covid-19 related projects to access grants; and
c. Youth Corps Singapore, where youths can volunteer for community activities in areas such as mental health, vulnerable groups and environment.
- COVID-19 has certainly not limited our youths’ perspectives or ambitions for our country. We have heard their views as part of an ongoing journey that started with the Youth Conversations in 2018, followed by the SG Youth Action Plan, and we will further build on these through the ongoing SG Together Emerging Stronger Conversations. Our youths will have more opportunities to discuss national issues and policies, and be part of the implementation plans, so that Singapore society can emerge stronger from COVID-19.