Reimagining youth policy and education to improve the lives of young people

What does it mean to be young and disadvantaged in Australia? The recently launched Centre for Youth Policy and Education Practice (CYPEP) in the Faculty of Education at Monash University is changing the conversation about young people’s futures.

The CYPEP aims to identify the challenges to, and opportunities for, improved life outcomes for young people today and throughout their lives. The Centre will achieve this by focusing on issues that affect young people, and on developing policy and educational interventions to address youth disadvantage.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the widening economic gaps in society and young people are paying the price. In particular in Australia, young people have been disproportionately affected by the economic downturns and are experiencing the effects of widening social inequality, but are typically politically under-represented.

Professor Lucas Walsh, Director of the CYPEP, says that the Centre will take a realistic approach to addressing the challenges faced by young people.

“Thousands of young people have lost work and face limited opportunities in precarious employment affecting their access to adequate housing, food and other necessities. These are pressing challenges that need to be addressed now,” said Professor Walsh.

“The CYPEP will seek to create and use evidence to navigate a path to solving these societal issues. We aim to determine whether there are factors that disproportionately affect young people, and to explore how better evidence-based policy and practice in education can address youth disadvantage.

CYPEP is run by a multi-disciplinary, multi-method team undertaking research into the social, political and economic factors, forces and trends that affect young people’s lives.

More specifically, the Centre will explore the question of whether being young is a disadvantage by bringing together existing indicators of how young people are faring in the form of a Youth Barometer that will examine the pressures felt by Australian youth across social, political, economic and wellbeing indicators. The Centre will then explore these trends in relation to education policy and practice.

“It’s important as educators to support young people to navigate uncertainty and to empower them to imagine and create a more secure life. It’s about having a language of possibility,” said Professor Viv Ellis, Dean of the Faculty of Education.

The official launch of the Centre will take place on Tuesday 24 August 2021 and as part of the launch the Centre will release its first discussion paper: Life, Disrupted: Young People, Education and Employment Before and After COVID-19.

To learn more about the Centre for Youth Policy and Education Practice, please visit: https://bit.ly/2UswRE2

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