Rev. Jan A. Scholtz
The ever-growing misunderstanding between society, the youth and government need remedy before reaching crisis point. To a certain degree, both sides are impatient toward each other when dealing with various ways of tackling socio-economic challenges.
According to the Namibia Statistics Agency’s Labour Force Survey of 2016, there are 854 567 youth aged 15-34 in Namibia. Out of this, 320 737 were employed, and 246 262 were without jobs. In addition, people with post-school education such as university constitute a combined unemployed rate of 24.5 percent.
The highest unemployment rates were found amongst persons with junior secondary and primary education, with a combined unemployment rate of 71.3 percent. Furthermore, the unemployment rate of people with no formal education stands at 34.5 percent which is slightly above the national unemployment rate according to the report (New Era Friday 16 Feb. 2018).
Because of the serious state of unemployment and the lack of job opportunities, the youth have very little hope that they have anything to contribute to the economic development. I do believe that entrepreneurship education is a key contributor to employment creation as it creates jobs for the youth when there are a few vacancies.
Also, the pivotal role of technical vocational education and training (TVET) in economic development cannot be overemphasised. TVET has had a positive effect on economic growth and it succeeded in reducing poverty, crime and unemployment rate.
Those who were technically skilled found it easy to be self-employed to be productive in the economy, thereby increasing the country’s employment and promoting economic growth.
Since young people comprise a large and growing proportion of the economically active population, their employment prospect affects a country’s future and economic growth, both in the respective countries and globally.
While that is true, the high rate of unemployment contributes to slow economic growth, dependency on primary sector and also the mismatch between supply and demand for skills. To address such skill mismatch, it is equally important for education and training sectors to align the skills development initiatives with skills demanded by the economic sector.
For Namibia to make a difference to its economic development of addressing youth unemployment, the country needs to prioritise the TVET sector and the non-government organisations and private companies must play an important role in this youth development process.
Although the government created the youth ministry, the recent deep budget cuts may unfortunately be negatively received and perceived by the youth.
There is an urgent need for government, NGOs, education and training institutions to come together to design relevant programs to help young people to transition from school into the labour force.
* Rev. Jan A. Scholtz possesses a Diploma in Youth Work and Development from the University of Zambia (UNZA). He writes in his own capacity.
New Era Reporter
2018-12-06 09:29:30 6 months ago