Nigeria: Youths Should Develop Capacity In STEM Education

By Abdullateef Aliyu

Over 100 schools nationwide have participated in a symposium to improve the teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education across secondary schools.

The symposium was organized by Star Deep Water Petroleum Limited (a Chevron company) and the parties in the Agbami field- Famfa Oil Limited, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Equinor Nigeria Limited and Petroleo Brasileiro Nigeria Ltd.

The symposium held in partnership with Lagos Business School was to proffer solutions to improving the STEM education in Nigeria through seminars and workshop for teachers.

Speaking at the STEM and Exhibition Symposium, Director, Star Deep Waters Petroleum Limited, Mr. Richard Kennedy said the Agbami parties believe that the most rewarding investment is the investment in people, because the greatest assets of a nation are its people.

He disclosed that since 2008 the parties had invested over N8.4 billion on Agbami Medical and Engineering Scholarship (AMEPS), producing 456 first class graduates and have awarded over 16,500 scholarships.

The parties said they have spent N2.5 billion on education infrastructure, built, furnished and equipped 34, science laboratories, and nine hybrid libraries in Nigeria.

Kennedy said to succeed in this new information-based and technology –driven global society, Nigerian youths should develop their capabilities in STEM to levels far exceeding what was considered in the past.

Source – Daily Trust

Uganda: University students advised to embrace agriculture

By David Lukiiza

The Youth Member of Parliament, Sarah Babirye Kityo Breeze has promised to facilitate youths in the central region to earn a living from agriculture.

Babirye, who was speaking to university students at Kampala International University (KIU) during the National Resistance Movement (NRM) public lecture on Friday, said university students often waste time in unproductive activities such as gambling and drug abuse, among other.

“Agricultural produce such as water melons, mushroom and cabbages are some of the easiest to start with because they need less capital,” she said.

Babirye noted that she is an expert in agriculture and that she is ready to share with the youths these skills, because agriculture is the only investment that has ready market in Uganda.

“Come up with organised groups, I will take you on a two-week retreat, where experts in agriculture will speak to you free of charge,” she added.

Babirye said students always fall prey of opposition leaders who lead them into breaking the law because of their selfish interests.

“Opposition groups are using you to engage in activities, which earn you nothing, and when some of you are imprisoned, they are nowhere to bail you out,” she warned.

Babirye said the NRM government came up with projects like Youth Livelihood programmes (YLP) so that youths become more productive.

“The Government wants youths who are productive in societies where they live, that is why the President came up with YLP so that you are never idle,” she added.

Oliver Mutesi, the secretary students’ affairs at National Youth Council, said youth should get involved in activities that bring them money other than wasting resources in gambling like sports betting.

“This song of Government should help us must stop because, government has put so many avenues for youths to make money, but we are not using them,” she said.

Mutesi cited YLP and Savings and Credit Cooperative Organizations (SACCOs) as some of the projects which the President put in place to support the youths. However, they shun them claiming that they are intended for only NRM supporters.

Kajabago-Ka-Rusoke, a lecturer at National Leadership Institute Kyankwazi asked government to put in place a labour college where all workers have to be trained and sensitised on issues to do with labour injustices.

Source – New Vision

South Africa: Liberal Arts student establishes Youth Enterprise Program

By Amanda Miller

William Okrafo-Smart, a senior double majoring in psychology and global and international studies with minors in sociology and economics in College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State, spent the past summer interning with IKhaya Le Langa, a nonprofit organization in Cape Town, South Africa.

Ikhaya Le Langa engages in entrepreneurial and community development to reverse the legacy of apartheid in Langa, Cape Town. The organization works to revitalize the Langa Quarter, an area housing approximately 7,000 people, through different projects to make the township cleaner, greener and safer.

Okrafo-Smart considered studying abroad a “must-do” even before he entered college. Knowing he had only one summer left for an international experience, he went to the Education Abroad Fair to find a program to best fit his interests. Council on International Educational Exchange’s internship abroad program stood out to him and he eventually found an internship in Cape Town, South Africa.

Okrafo-Smart received funding from the Career Enrichment Network in the College of the Liberal Arts to support his international experience. The network is a resource for all Liberal Arts students who are seeking opportunities to engage in career-related, international and professional development activities.

During his internship, Okrafo-Smart established a Youth Enterprise Program. Aimed at introducing the youth of Langa to the foundational aspects of entrepreneurship, he designed, implemented and facilitated a five-week series of workshops. Through the program, students set up informal businesses to help their community. He taught several workshops as well, discussing topics like personal development, leadership, business fundamentals, and marketing.

Okrafo-Smart credits his liberal arts education with not only helping him succeed with his project but with landing the opportunity to work on it in the first place.

“My employer was excited to see that I majored in psychology and global and international studies (wealth and inequality pathway). He told me that my areas of study were perfect for understanding and unpacking the intergenerational trauma that haunted the community as well as being able to understand the economic aspects of poverty. He gave me the project because of my background. My liberal arts education allowed me to effectively work on a project that had a meaningful impact on a community in need.” — William Okrafo-Smart, senior at Penn State

Okrafo-Smart currently serves as an advanced facilitation coach at World in Conversation, a center for public diplomacy in the College of the Liberal Arts that hosts cross-cultural dialogues. As a coach, he helps design workshops to teach conflict transformation and management. He is also a family leader for BLUEprint, a peer-mentoring organization that assists first-year and change-of-campus students of color with their transition to Penn State. He was also an ambassador for the Multicultural Resource Center Leadership Council.

While Okrafo-Smart still isn’t sure exactly what career he wants to pursue after graduation, his internship helped him realize his passion for social change, and he hopes to work with a non-profit organization.

“I went into this internship curious about the field of social entrepreneurship and community development. This internship has taught me much regarding global development, tenacity, and creative freedom, what it takes to be a social entrepreneur and what it means to work with a community in need. This experience has also made me feel bolder and empowered me and fueled my passion to work in a position of social change for my long-term goals.”

Anyone who would like to help Liberal Arts students pursue internships, study abroad, research, and other enrichment experiences like Okrafo-Smart’s, may visit the College of the Liberal Arts’ Giving Tuesday page and give to the Liberal Arts Edge Fund on Tuesday, Nov. 27. Graduates of the last decade can double their impact because the University will match their gifts up to $100 on Giving Tuesday.

Source – PennState

Nigeria: Group mobilises 2,000 youths for voter education

By Bridget Chiedu Onochie

A group, Grassroots Accountability Advocacy Foundation (GAAF), has mobilized over 2,000 youths for nation-wide voters education. The already trained youths who would begin the tour of local communities shall be taking citizens on the issue of violence-free elections against 2019.

Titled, Roadmap to Violence-free Election, the President and Founder of GAAF, Genevieve Anthony-Iroajanma, told The Guardian that the nationwide enlightennent campaign would begin in Imo State on November 22. She added that the initiative came with the increasing incidents of vote invalidations in the recently concluded elections in some states.

According to her, the opinion survey conducted in some states revealed gross ignorance of electoral process and lack of basic information of electoral procedures among rural dwellers and less educated Nigerians.“The results of GAAF’s most recent voters’ opinion survey carried out to ascertain the level of voters’ information and awareness among rural voters resident in Imo State revealed gross ignorance of the whole electoral process and lack of adequate information of electoral procedure among rural and less educated residents.”

The scheduled flag off of the programme in Imo will bring together representatives of security agencies, the anti-graft agencies, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Civil Society Groups, the academia, politicians and religious leaders, who would be speaking on the dangers of electoral violence.

According to Anthony-Iroajanma, cases of votes cancellations and attendant disagreements have posed a new challenge in the Nigerian electoral process, and this, she stated, required immediate attention.“We cannot therefore continue to stand by and watch as millions of uninformed, yet eligible voters Group mobilises 2,000 youths for voter education being alienated from the entire democratic process merely because of lack of knowledge of the voting and the whole electoral process.

Source – Guardian

Kenya: Harmonised TVET curricula aim to boost youth employment

By Gilbert Nganga

The government has launched a new set of harmonised competency-based curricula and quality standards which are set to revolutionise the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) sector and allow graduates to work anywhere in the country and in any industry.

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Education and the TVET Curriculum Development Assessment and Certification Council – a government agency – unveiled the Competency-Based Education and Training and Assessment Standards and Guidelines. Whereas in the past curricula varied according to the institution and competencies were different, the new system allows the country to harmonise competencies.

Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto said the framework will eradicate moribund courses as colleges focus on skills required to drive the country’s economic agenda as set out in Vision 2030, the blueprint designed to lift Kenya into middle-income industrialised economy status over the next 12 years.

The move is also in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the government’s ‘Big Four’ development agenda aimed at ensuring the country is food secure, provides affordable decent housing, affordable universal health care and supports the manufacturing sector to produce jobs.

TVET investment

Over the past three years, the government has been investing heavily in TVET to secure a critical mass of artisans, craftspeople, technicians and technologists.

“We want to reduce the gap between training and industry and to ensure that we better develop young people into professionals that can meet the growing needs of industry and the economy,” Ruto said in Nairobi during the launch. “We must respond to the stark truth of our socio-economic time: the need for more competency in our workforce.”

Kenya hopes to grow its manufacturing contribution to GDP over the next five years from 9% to 15%, build a million new affordable housing units using innovative technology, and nurture about 1,000 new small businesses in the agri-processing space every year.

The competitiveness of these industries will depend on their efficiency and their ability to source competent labour in the market. Kenya has over 1 million young people leaving primary and secondary education every year.

In addition to the curricular review, Kenya has embarked on other sectoral reforms which include provision of more training spaces, modern and state of the art training equipment and capacity building of TVET trainers.

The government has set up oversight and regulatory agencies which include the TVET Authority to accredit institutions and assure quality, and the Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) to develop and implement the Kenya Qualifications Framework to assess foreign certificates and qualifications.

It is envisioned that the provision of relevant TVET skills to the increasing number of youth will prepare them for self-employment arising from opportunities in the growing infrastructure and manufacturing sectors.

Harmonised framework

The new curriculum puts special emphasis on developing a critical mass of skills in oil pipeline operations, horticultural production, machinery operation and electrical installation.

A total of 88 occupational standards have been developed which have also influenced the respective competency-based curricula. The KNQA will be expected to recognise these competency-based modules as national qualifications.

Students will now be tested according to a harmonised framework which means they can work anywhere in the country or in any industry, a departure from the past when they relied on varying standards.

“These occupational standards will be reviewed to ensure they are relevant as some competences become obsolete and technological practices change in line with technical innovation,” said Kenya’s Education Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Amina Mohamed.

Skills mismatch

The standards have been developed in conjunction with private sector players to address the skills mismatch about which employers have long complained.

The government has in return asked private sector employers to enhance remuneration for the technical workers to attract more youth.

As part of the reforms, the government announced it has further reduced the annual cost of technical training from US$920 to US$564 per student.

For this financial year which started in July, the National Treasury allocated US$160 million for technical institutions. The funding, which is over 30% higher than the past year, is expected to aid the recruitment of an additional 2,000 technical training instructors and capitation grants for students. It is projected that the measures will help to grow 10-fold the enrolment in TVET institutions, currently at 330,180 students.

Source – UWN

Lessons on youth educational training reform in Kenya

By John Mugo

Over the last five years, Kenya’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) has experienced a series of reforms targeted at expanding youth access to training, improving the quality of training, and better matching of training skills to the demands of the labor market. Engineered by the TVET Act of 2013, the reforms have witnessed the birth of various institutions, including the TVET Authority (TVETA), the Curriculum Development, Assessment, and Certification Council (CDACC), and the Kenyan National Qualifications Authority (KNQA). Among the reform outcomes is the re-assessment and registration of 980 TVET institutions, development of more than 40 competency-based training curricula, and finalization of the Kenya national qualifications framework.

“In our focus on the need for transferable skills for the 21st century, we cannot lose sight of other factors confronting our youth. In this blog from John Mugo of ziziAfrique, an education research center in Kenya, we hear about the disconnect between the opportunity for development of job-specific skills and their uptake by the youth for whom the training is designed.” -The Optimizing Assessment for All team

Despite all this, enrollment in TVET has remained relatively low. For instance, there were only 275,000 youth enrolled in around 1,900 TVET institutions in 2017, as compared to over 520,000 thousand youth enrolled in less than 40 universities. Considering that the average training duration for university is four years and TVET’s is two years, the figures are relatively low compared to the more than 700,000 youth exiting the school system each year. This includes those who drop out of primary school, those who complete primary but do not transition to secondary school, and those who either drop out or complete secondary school. It implies then, that annually, at least 350,000 of the youth exiting the school system either remain at home as “not in education, employment, or training” (NEET), or enter the labor market as unskilled workers. To change this, the government has aimed to triple the TVET enrollment to one million by 2019.

WHY THE LOW ENROLLMENT IN TVET?

To understand better what contributes to the low enrollment, a team of 11 staff from ziziAfrique spoke with youth ages 18-25 years in the Kolyonwet location of Kericho County. Kericho is among Kenya’s agriculture hubs, and a leading producer of tea and milk. It also has a high concentration of youth NEET. The team gained four insights that can aid youth reform in Kenya:

1. Targeted communication is essential. There is an information deficit among the youth. Despite the fact that many have access to smart phones, electricity, and even TVs, youth spoken to by the team had not received information on TVET. In fact, none of the youth in the five villages visited were aware of the government sponsorship of TVET and pending deadlines for applications. Strategically placed posters advertising for TVET training opportunities and a government vocational training center within walking distance were not enough. The team learned that targeted communication through word of mouth (via social workers, chiefs, or ward administrators), or through phones, might be more effective in reaching the youth. Even then, information on TVET should be shared in the schools as a potential career path, so that children can associate TVET with life success.

2. Invest in skills acquisition for youth. Kericho’s lush green agricultural environment can be deceptive. Poverty is high among most families, land areas are small, and inequality is high. Increasing household incomes can only happen through innovative value-addition and processing of dairy products, improving farming methods, and upgrading traditional family farming to modern, agribusiness models. Investing in skills acquisition to export skilled labor to other parts of the region and country would certainly be one strategic choice in diminishing the density of youth NEET in Kericho.

Source – Brookings

Uganda: Albertine Youth Bursary Scheme to Be Unveiled on Thursday

The much anticipated Albertine Youth Bursary Scheme will be unveiled this Thursday. The scheme opens a new window of opportunity for 600 youths from 13 districts to acquire knowledge and skills that will enable them compete favorably in the oil and Gas sector.

The benefiting districts include Masindi, Nwoya, Hoima, Kabarole, Bunyangabu, Nebbi, Buliisa, Kibaale, Kakumiro, Kagadi, Kiryandongo, Kikuube and Kyejonjo.

Hoima Resident District Commissioner Samuel Kisembo says the programme intends to empower youths within the Albertine Graben through free vocational training in the areas of Welding and Metal Fabrication, plumbing and pipe Fitting, Motor vehicle mechanics, carpentry and Joinery and Brick laying among others.

The government of Uganda obtained a loan of USD 28million (approximately sh106.5b) from the World Bank in 2014, part of which would be used to bankroll the scholarships. The courses will be taken at Uganda Technical College, Kicwamba and Uganda Petroleum Institute, Kigumba (UPIK).

Kisembo says the scheme is targeting students who completed senior four with an Ordinary Level certificate indicating exceptional performance in science subjects. All beneficiaries must be Ugandans and residents in the listed districts.

Kisembo says after Launching the project, office of the President will avail all the offices of District Education officers that are set to benefit from the Albertine Bursary scheme with forms to be filled by students who will be selected to benefit from the programme at a free cost.

He challenges youths in the selected districts to embrace the initiative.

Source – Uganda Radio Network

Nigeria News: Grooming Youths in the Build Industry to Tackle Unemployment

Considering the alarming rate of youth unemployment in the country and its negative effect on the economy, the Universal Learn Direct Academy is empowering youths to solve the endemic housing and infrastructural problems in Nigeria. Funmi Ogundare reports

Youth development and empowerment have been recognised as vital stages in life for building the human capital that allows young people to avoid poverty and live better, and possibly have a more fulfilling life. The human capital formed in youth is thus an important determinant of long-term growth that a nation can invest and rely on.

Hence, making sure that youths are well prepared for their future is enormously important to the course of poverty reduction and growth.

In response to the clarion call by the federal government to develop and empower the Nigerian youths to enable them contribute to the development of the country, the Universal Learn Direct Academia (ULDA) Limited recently held a seminar on self-employment skills in the building and construction industry which featured topics on ‘Study Gap Industry Preparedness’; ‘Emigration Backup Plan’; ‘Self-employment MSME Skills’; and ‘Trading Opportunities for Women in the Construction Industry’.

In his remarks, the visioner of ULDA, Mr. Gbola Oba enjoined the youths to connect their skills to their passion, saying that it is one thing for them to be a graduate of a particular course and it is another thing to be skilled in what they are passionate about.

He cited instances of people who studied courses in the social science and developed skills set in the building and construction industry, adding that they are now abroad and making it big.

“The best way to solve Nigeria’s problems is to empower the youths. They need to create values by connecting their skills to their passion; there is no reason why they should fail. If they must leave the shores of Nigeria for greener pastures, they must be equipped to justify their stay abroad.”

He told THISDAY the importance of empowering youths to solve the endemic housing and infrastructural problems in the country, saying that it will help in curbing the menace of poor quality infrastructure and undignified housing in Nigeria.

“The engagement is not only for those who are in the construction industry that would solve these problems, it may be those who are entrepreneurial with passion that will help us solve the sustainable problems, hence the need for the session to engage youths to drive many plans and inspire them.”

Aside creating employment, Oba said the academia trains social entrepreneurs who will be problem solvers and focus on the opportunities that the building and construction industry present anywhere in the world. “If you want to galvanize the economic activities in any society, just tell people to put in place a building project, which is multidisciplinary bringing together artisanship and professionalism.”

Oba described the youths as the best reflections of the country’s values while expressing concern about the problems inherent in ensuring that youths are equipped with the requisite skills in the country.

“There is a fundamental problem in the system which showed that we have failed. Imagine I had to beg some boys in Mushin to come and empower themselves with skills, even people that are not related to me have been taken to Dubai, they are bricklayers and we have done skills training for them.

“They are now literate, despite the fact that some of them dropped out of secondary schools, they can now read structural engineering joints and electrical drawings. The ones in Dubai now will be taking over structural sites because they know the job. We should encourage people to go for trainings so as to ensure a sustainable development in our society like other countries.”

He expressed concern about the over stratification of education and industry in the country, saying that it inhibits the level of competence one should have.

Source: This Day

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Education: Rwanda’s Smart Classroom Project Close to Becoming a Reality

By James Karuhanga

Under the project, government plans to distribute 100 computers in each school. There’s optimism from government that by 2020 all public schools will be equipped with smart class rooms.

The Ministry of Education has challenged secondary schools to fast-track a new model of smart classroom in a fresh bid to raise the quality of education.

The initiative, which seeks to equip schools with computers and access to internet, is premised on the belief that ICT is a tool which will transform the country’s education system through the digitalisation of academic material which will subsequently increase access.

The Minister for Education, Eugène Mutimura, recently said in a tweet that government had identified 166 schools to potentially take the lead in the implementation of the smart classroom project.

Irénée Ndayambaje, the Director General of Rwanda Education Board (REB), said that: “All those schools (that have been identified) have the requisite capacity and infrastructure to do it and are able to be role models to other schools”.

The Government has been encouraging schools to identify secure rooms where they can install computers and other ICT related infrastructure

Under the project, government plans to distribute 100 computers in each school. It targets 1,500 schools.

Ndayambaje told The New Times on Friday last week that ICT in education is not simply about students getting computer lessons but rather using the computers to expand their knowledge in the subjects they study.

So far, he said, 692 schools have smart classrooms.

“We are targeting 1,500 secondary schools. The remaining schools are yet to get either access to electricity and or do not have free rooms that can serve the purpose. We require two free rooms, with electricity, each with 50 chairs and quality desks or tables. And metal windows and doors to guarantee maximum security.”

Infrastructure, he said, is key to the success of the project.

“Not all schools in the country have electricity. Secondly, not all schools have enough rooms yet we need extra rooms for computers. Not until all these issues are solved shall we know when we can have it all set,” Ndayambaje said.

There’s optimism from government that by 2020 all public schools will be equipped with smart class rooms.

Edouard Uhagaze, the teacher in charge of studies at Lycée Notre-Dame de Cîteaux in Kigali, said the school launched a pilot phase last term.

“We are still undergoing a trial phase. The system for the programme has just been installed and teachers are being trained by a company sent by the Ministry of Education on how to use it,” he said, adding that; “By and large, it would be too early to talk about the gains right now but for sure the idea behind this project is very good because this is all about helping students learn easier using information technology”.

His school, he said, had already been using computers in its teaching processes and the new project is likely to add value.

Courses, which are interactive and multi-media based, will enable students to learn on their own and facilitate the teachers to prepare lessons.

The Government has already distributed POSITIVO Laptops – which have Microsoft Word and Windows, and teachers and students can surf the internet and research as well as access different content that comes with the laptops – to more than 500 schools across the country in addition to more than 250,000 XO Laptops to more than 1,500 primary schools.

The aim of smart classrooms is to incorporate ICT into various aspects of the country’s education system and bring a fundamental change in teaching and learning systems.

Smart classrooms are being equipped with computers connected to the internet with a screen projector, among others.

The aim is to bring about positive change both for teachers and learners as the latter get a wide range of resources while the former also teach using a wide range of resources other than using a single book.

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