GNS Youth Platform Unlocks New Opportunities for Türkiye’s Youth

September 21, 2022

Since February 2022, around half a million individuals have participated in the GNS Youth platform’s activities.
The GNS platform of the the Ministry of Youth and Sport of Turkey allows young people to visit museums for free. Photo by Anadou Images

T

he most prominent reward of working for youth is benefiting from their limitless excitement. Beyond their contagious excitement, young people are interested and engaged in many personal and social aspects of life. To match their interests, any project concerning them should be equally comprehensive, far-reaching, and large-scale. Young people are the seeds of their infinite potential and harbingers of a visionary future.  

The youth are never outdated, and their outlook establishes the standards of today; whatever is offered to them, and whatever they participate in, r will outlast everything else. In order to nurture a generation with a wide-ranging and flourishing, with a universal vision and solid foundations, one must start by investing in young people—and to invest when they are most open to learning.

These motivations and ideas are core elements of our new project, the GNS Youth Platform, which is a digital venue for many of the activities young people are interested in. The platform features multiple branches, each focused on a different activity type. For example, there is a travel section where tickets for bus and train trips are given away so that young people can travel to different locations within Türkiye and personally visit the country’s many geographical and cultural beauties.

There is a book section where vouchers for purchasing books are given. In the sports section, we offer sports tickets allowing young people to witness the thrill of professional competitions live and firsthand. In the same context, the Ministry of Youth and Sports also offers free training sessions by professional trainers in multiple sports branches.

Similarly, in the art section, tickets for concerts, music festivals, theatrical performances, and movie theaters are given free of charge. We expanded our scope of reach by adding the “Goodness Segment where young people meet successful and inspiring individuals, and dive into possible career paths they are passionate about. Last but not least, by cooperating with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, we created and handed out the “MuseumCard GNS” free of charge. With this card, young people can visit more than 300 museums and archaeological sites throughout our country.

When we first started this project, we had multiple aims in our minds. The most forthcoming was to have young people join different types of events to enlarge their cultural knowledge and fields of interest. Filling their life with beneficial and fun events, we eased the way for many youths to live a life full of art, sports, and culture. It is important for us that young people can turn to their ministry when they seek to enrich their lives and when they do so, they are met by our professional and qualified assistance.

 The number one duty of the Republic of Türkiye’s Ministry of Youth and Sports is to satisfy this societal need. Backing youth with optimal means also provides a natural protection since the youth’s energy and potential is channeled into healthy targets. In order to achieve this, first, young people must be in an environment where they can explore the outer world and their own potential. Then, they must be guided towards the professional and personal goals that best suit them.

To witness different aspects of life and to choose a path among many others, is a lengthy and complicated process. It is best to start this life-long process when one is young. The more people spend their time and energy in productive and worthy ways when they are young, the greater the chances when they become adults that they will lead better lives, doing what they love, and having the necessary qualities and skills to do so.

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A student visiting the Istanbul Museum of the History of Science and and Technology in Islam as part of the GNS project of Turkey's Ministry of Youth and Sport. Photo by Arife Karakum, Anadou Images

Fighting Social Inequality 

Social inequality is the reality of every society. Especially among the young population, social inequality may have long-lasting effects that can alter young people’s careers and personal lives, leaving unrepairable scars. After all, youth only comes once in a lifetime. As most scholars argue, the key issue in debates on inequality and social welfare is inequality of opportunity.

Though there are multiple definitions, inequality of opportunity can be described best as when members of the same society do not have access to the same possibilities, opportunities, and means. High levels of inequality of opportunity suggest that the conditions and circumstances a person is born into such as their gender, where they were born, their race, or their family background, significantly influence their life. Such factors influence the quality of education people receive, the job and career paths they choose, their social and professional cycles, and eventually the amount of money they earn. However, it is not something irrecoverable.

The GNS Youth Platform aims to balance this inequality and be a welcoming gateway for people from everywhere to travel anywhere, to attend art and sports events, and to read the books they like regardless of their cost. It is important that young people do not feel left out, and they are able to attend all such events or have all such experiences firsthand.

In this sense the GNS Youth Platform is a social responsibility project, making sure the same opportunities are offered to every young citizen. At the Ministry, we are working hard to recover the missed opportunities some might experience due to social inequalities. In terms of social cycles, for certain activities, we offer tickets for two, so young people can bring along their friends and enjoy the adventure together.

Improvements in Process

The project is growing, offering more opportunities in new areas. Additionally, since we, as the Ministry, deeply prioritize youth participation, we added new segments to the project that offer sports training courses, meet-and-greet career talks with important experts, and activities. We aspire for all youth to be more than just observers. We want to see all our youth take center stage and not observe life from the sidelines.

Experiencing new things in life will give young people a chance to become familiar with new areas requiring unique skill sets. From there they will be able to discover new aspects about themselves and where their capabilities lie. We believe that wisdom can spring from anywhere and it will be the greatest joy for us to see young people who benefited from this project bring their own experience and wisdom to the table, and, in this way, also contribute to the project.

Today, there are more than 50 sports, arts, culture, and other events that young people can join. Since February 2022, around half a million individuals have participated in the platform’s activities. We have already handed out 5,407 tickets. In an accumulative structure, their experience and feedback will help us improve the project so as to reach more people with better means, in addition to understanding new youth trends. For example, we give away tents and camping material because outdoor camping is a rising and popular activity among young people and as the Ministry, we would love to support them in this endeavor.

 This project is genuinely open to growth and expansion. It is designed to be open-ended; we are on the lookout to include anything our youth are interested in. We periodically upgrade the platform, adding new events and segments to carry it to the next level. We listen and take on the suggestions of young people and youth workers, and include them in all steps. With this strong advantage, we are sure that the GNS Youth Platform will become a significant part of young people’s lives.

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Dr. M. Mehmet Kasapoğlu, the Minister of Youth & Sports of Türkiye.

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