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Youth will determine the direction of the nation through the 2024 elections

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By: Devi Putri Anjani )*

The General Election (Pemilu) is not only a democratic process to determine leaders, but also a crucial moment that shows how important the role of the young generation is in shaping the direction and future of a country. 

As time goes by, data submitted by August Mellaz, a member of the General Election Commission (KPU), in June 2023, highlights the great potential of the Millennial Generation and Generation Z, which reached 116 million voters or 60% of the total voters. This figure not only represents numbers, but also hopes for the active contribution of the younger generation in making history and shaping the political map in the future.

Awareness of the important role of the younger generation is increasingly emerging, especially in the context of democracy. The biggest challenge faced is how to encourage the younger generation to participate and exercise their voting rights. 

In the end, the success of a country’s democracy cannot be separated from the involvement and good political understanding of all elements of society, especially the younger generation.

The great responsibility for the younger generation lies in determining the future direction of the country. Political education is the main foundation that needs to be strengthened in order to prepare them for the 2024 elections. Formal education has an irreplaceable role in providing a comprehensive understanding of the political process, the correct way to do politics and democratic values.

A study conducted by Aars and Christesen, entitled “Education and Political Participation: The Impact of Educational Environments,” emphasizes that formal education has a crucial role in determining the level of political participation. 

Improving the quality of the political curriculum, training political educators, and creating a learning environment that encourages active participation and involvement of students in constructive political discussions are important steps.

In this context, formal education institutions are at the forefront in providing in-depth understanding to the younger generation. Improving the quality of the political curriculum, training quality political teachers, and creating a learning environment that supports active participation can be concrete steps to build a strong political foundation for future generations. 

Ensuring that young people have comprehensive knowledge of the political process, public policy, and the importance of their voting rights is an important step toward a democratic society.

Apart from formal education, the family also has a big role in shaping the political views of the younger generation. The family is not only the first place where individuals are exposed to political values, but also the main agent in instilling these values. 

The study conducted by Rico and Jennings in their research entitled “The Formation of Left-Right Identification: Pathways and Correlates of Parental Influence” highlights the role of parents as the main determinant in shaping children’s political identification.

However, the role of the family should not be seen as the only factor shaping the political views of the younger generation. Differences in political views between family members can influence how the younger generation understands politics. 

For this reason, it is important to encourage open discussions, support critical thinking, and respect differences of opinion within the family. Only by providing space for the younger generation to develop broader political views and not be fixated on just one point of view, can we ensure the development of balanced thinking.

Apart from within the family, there are influences from external factors such as education, social environment, and exposure to information from mass media and the internet which also shape the political views of the younger generation. 

Therefore, a holistic and integrated approach needs to be adopted to ensure that the younger generation has a balanced and diverse influence in the formation of their political views.

The role of mass media in presenting political information and forming critical thinking skills in the younger generation has a significant impact. Mass media is a window to the world that opens access for the younger generation to get the latest information about developing political issues. 

When mass media can present information objectively, adhere to the principles of quality journalism with good fact verification, and provide a balanced point of view on a political topic, this can help the younger generation to form critical, fact-based thinking.

However, challenges arise when mass media are unable to maintain the quality and integrity of the information conveyed. Media literacy is the key for the younger generation in developing critical thinking about the information they receive. 

Media literacy skills include the ability to analyze, evaluate and filter information obtained from mass media. The younger generation who is equipped with media literacy skills can recognize bias, understand the context of the news presented, and be able to form a more holistic understanding of politics.

The important role of the young generation as pioneers of change in building an inclusive and just society through their political participation is vital. Their political involvement has had a major impact in creating positive change, bringing fresh ideas, energy and new views into the political arena.

Through active participation in elections, the younger generation not only cast their votes to elect leaders who represent their values, but can also become agents of change in policy making, influencing the political agenda, and fighting for issues that are important to them and society.

The 2024 election is not just about choosing leaders, but also about creating a better future for all of us. By making political education the key, we open the door to an intelligent, critical and responsible society. Let’s build a democratic and just nation together through the knowledge and active participation of the younger generation.

)* The author is a Media Ambassador Contributor

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