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How can we empower our out-of-school youth?


Every year, we graduate a good number of learners from high school. Not counting those who drop off along the way. These numbers now must be a huge number going by the Government initiative of 100% transition from Primary to Secondary education. Flashback…

Wendy, my 24-year-old niece, completed high school 5 years ago. She was one among 610,000 other candidates. Of this number, only 70,000 were admitted to the university, representing just 11% of the total number. Over 500,000 do not make it to join tertiary institutions each year.

This got me thinking then. What happens to these youth? At the time, some of them got trapped in early marriages, pregnancies, drug abuse, or even enlisted in criminal gangs.

Fast forward…What is the current situation? What with the Covid-19 pandemic? The issue got worse with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. What happened to all the youth, not just those who did not make it to Tertiary Institutions but also those who for one reason or another fell out of learning Institutions after they were closed due to the pandemic?

Globally we are experiencing University students born with technology, dropping out of college. One of the contributing factors is that they do not find the courses relevant to the economic climate. They would rather do short courses that give them the knowledge they need to get around. Besides very few high school graduates make it to the university globally.  This is indeed a worrying trend. We need to bring back the youth to the economy.

So, what should we do? With a country that has Internet penetration that is over 65%; plus, the 2000 ICT hubs set up by the government in all 47 Counties and much more information access, it is imperative to leverage this to empower these young people to take charge of their lives and uplift themselves and their communities. We should figure out how best to take advantage of this high technology availed to us and not spend all the time using it in areas that do not add value to their lives such as social media use. What about short affordable courses accessible anywhere anytime for a start? These could be those that equip them with entrepreneurial, marketing, financial literacy, and communication skills among other important skills that will enable them to make a meaningful livelihood. White-collar jobs do not exist anymore, as the world continues to revolve, my take.

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