The recent call by the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, on governments to invest more in youth employment initiatives to apparently stem the global tide of joblessness among the youth, is timely and should be heeded by all countries. The UN chief scribe who made the call during an International Labour Organization’s (ILO) event in Geneva, Switzerland, described youth unemployment in most parts of the world as a formidable challenge that global leaders must tackle. Ki-moon also declared at the occasion that decent jobs for youths are essential to future global prosperity.
It is apt and proper that the UN is saying this to the hearing of all member states of the organization. Ki-moon’s alarm that youth unemployment is an ‘epidemic’ that represents a great test of our time should be taken seriously by rich and poor countries of the world. His observation, too, that unemployment rates for young people are many times those of adults should worry leaders of all countries, especially those where youth joblessness has risen so high.
We welcome the concerns by the UN and urge all countries, particularly those in the developing or third world orbit, to rise up to the challenges of youth unemployment and embark on massive job creation drive to avert the time bomb that may soon detonate. Third world countries, including Nigeria, should muster the political will to confront the monster of youth unemployment and create the enabling environment for massive job creation.
Government should tap into the agricultural sector in order to meet this challenge.
Available records from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) put the number of jobless Nigerians at 20.3 million. Although this may be a conservative figure in view of our poor statistical culture, there is no doubt that youths constitute a larger percentage of the nation’s unemployed people.
Every year, the nation’s tertiary institutions put into the job market an army of certificated but unemployed youths chasing elusive jobs. Yet in many government’s ministries and departments are workers well above the retirement age but still working. Government should find ways of disengaging our over-aged and tired workforce to create room for the youths. Admitted that there is wisdom in old age, the agility, productivity and inventiveness of the youths cannot be sacrificed on the altar of gerontocracy.
Nigeria’s future development and her dream to be among the 20 most industrialized nations in the world by 2020 will be a mirage if majority of the nation’s youths are unemployed. Most developed countries of the world depend on the productivity of their youths instead of those of their aging population in their development drive. The government must do something to give our youths a chance. Let us empower our youths because they are our only hope for the future. They are the leaders of tomorrow. Any country that jokes with the destiny of its youths is building on a weak foundation.
Therefore, it is high time government did something about the joblessness of Nigerian youths. Let government create opportunities for the growing number of unemployed youths. We should stop recycling our greybeards and empower the youths so that we don’t pay the price of declining productivity which many advanced countries are currently paying. Government should do something fast before it is too late. Global youth unemployment has led to new forms and levels of criminality. As long as this anomaly is not addressed, we would definitely get into bigger troubles one day.
Bemoaning the ugly situation alone will not help matters. Rather, emphasis should be placed on skills acquisition instead of paper qualification. The UN member states, especially those in third world countries, should tailor their higher education schools’ curricular towards technical/vocational and entrepreneurship education. They should ensure that their tertiary institutions include in their programmes courses aimed at producing prospective entrepreneurs and not necessarily people that will look for jobs upon graduation. Since the private sector is a key driver of job creation, government and educational institutions should partner with them in creating jobs for the youths. This has become necessary in view of the fact that government alone cannot create jobs for the youths. Let all hands be on deck to ensure that there are jobs for our youths.
Courtesy UN & AGENCIES …….. Source ………. NEW AFRICA DAILY NEWS