THE country’s education system is theory-orientated, and places limited emphasis on vocational education, thereby hampering youth skills development, a recent study has found.
The study stated that the inclusion of more technical subjects to give pupils a wider range to choose from through aptitude tests will help determine diverse career paths.
The parliamentary standing committee on human resources and community development revealed this in its study on youth skills development and unemployment.
The report, which gauged the employability of the youth in various regions across the country, was conducted between May 2017 and June 2018.
It found that the Zambezi region tops the list of unskilled youth, followed by the two Kavango regions.
The committee also found that there are no vocational training centres in the central //Kharas region, and it’s too costly for the community to send children to Lüderitz in terms of transport, accommodation and fees.
“Although there are a University of Namibia satellite campus at Keetmanshoop as well as the Namibia Institute of Mining and Technology, the training costs remain too high,” the committee found.
The community requested the ministry of education to reintroduce practical subjects to enable the youth to employ themselves after high school, and to generate income to sustain themselves.
“The ministry of education should reintroduce practical subjects like sewing, carpentry and agriculture,” the community demanded.
The //Kharas community also indicated that the distance to the Namcol centre situated at Keetmanshoop is making it difficult for the largely rural youths to access.
//Kharas also has a number of mines, but the youth don’t benefit a lot from them as more entry-level posts are filled by people from other regions, with a lack of skills and nepotism being blamed, the community revealed to the committee.
The youth furthermore urged the ministry of education to make it a requirement for mining companies to employ a certain number of locals, and to make the training of youth in various aspects of mining part of their corporate social responsibility.
The youth informed the committee that the private sector can play a vital role in solving the skills and jobs mismatch by designing training courses required by the market, as opposed to the status quo where tertiary training centres set up the training courses.
“The private sector needs to be involved in the design and implementation of training courses as a way to overcome the shortages of skills,” the //Kharas youth urged.
The committee found that Koës, also in //Kharas, has no secondary schools, no youth centre, and a large number of unqualified primary school teachers.
The youth there bemoaned the fact that there are no alternatives for Grade 10 dropouts, and highlighted factors which worsen the lack of skills amongst the youth.
The committee found that 64% of the Koës community is illiterate, while the lack of proficiency in English as the official language in the country is dashing their hopes of success in everything they try out.
The community thus pleaded with the village council not to charge a lot for them to utilise empty buildings in the village for various entrepreneurial activities.
Meanwhile, the youth in the Hardap region echoed similar sentiments that the government should bring back technical subjects in schools as not everyone is academically gifted, and some want to explore their vocational abilities at school level.
The Hardap youth demanded through the committee that the “curriculum be upgraded at least after every year, and technical qualifications be recognised by the qualifications authority”.
They also informed the committee that they need Nust and Unam satellite offices in the region, as their parents cannot afford accommodation and transport costs to Keetmanshoop.
The youth likewise asked the government to review the requirements for agricultural and technical training so that more youths can have access and participate in these courses.
In Omaheke, the youth want the government to increase its budget, noting that more is needed for one to acquire market-related skills as they cannot even afford training to write comprehensive business plans for their ideas.
“When we have vacant positions in the regions, most of the local youths do not have the necessary skills, and then people from other regions are appointed,” the community revealed to the committee.
The community condemned the high costs as well as high requirements for Cosdec and other vocational training institutions, as the majority are farmworkers and don’t earn enough to send their children to higher educational institutions. The Omaheke community recommended that a Kayec type of practical training programme be rolled out extensively as they have lower requirements. The standing committee, chaired by Liina Namupala, submitted the recommendations based on their regional findings to Cabinet.
According to the Namibian Statistics Agency’s 2018 survey, youth unemployment (46,1%), which is only 3,9% away from affecting half of the youth population in the country as the economy, policies and structures struggle to place them.
The NDP5 (2017 to 2022) plans on reducing the youth unemployment rate from 46,1 % to 33%, the national unemployment rate from 33,4% to 24%, and the rural unemployment rate from 45,8% to 20% within two years.
Source The Namibian