[Challenge:Future] TOWARDS REALISING FULL YOUTH EMPLOYMENT IN OUR LIFETIME
TOWARDS REALISING FULL YOUTH EMPLOYMENT IN OUR LIFETIME PROJECT NAME: YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT IN BOTSWANA TEAM NAME : SUB-SAHARANS COUNTRY : BOTSWANA
THE EXPERIENCE• RESPONSES FROM DISCUSSIONSWe reached out to some youth in Botswana who presented their views on Youth Unemployment. -Masego Phoi, a student of Sociology and Psychology at the University of Botswana had this to say ; “The education system makes us dependent on government. It doesn’t make us enterprising. To boot, many of the youth have something of a tunnel vision; we think life revolves only around going to school then university and ultimately guarantee them formal employment.”-As regards the solution, Miss Phoi proposed the need for mentorship, instilling a sense of entrepreneurship on the youth. She posited that old people in the formal employ ought to make way for the youngsters. Finally she wants government’s internship program phased out as she dismisses it to be obsolete and not fruit bearing. Masego implores the youth to “think outside the box.”-Christina Dingalo, a sophomore student of Public Administration and Political Science at the University of Botswana categorically stated that she has heard of, seen and lived Youth Unemployment. The education system, she argued, does not impart necessary skills on the youth She emphasized the need for investment in the agricultural sector with a view to broaden the base of the economy. Lastly, the visibly emotion laden Christina, expressed displeasure at the land question in Botswana. Very few people, she asserts, own large tracts of land to the disadvantage of the majority (especially the youth). Unavailability of land as a factor of production stifles youth entrepreneurship.-22 year old Kgalalelo Nnoi feels that government is not doing enough to support the arts, sports and culture. Much emphasis is placed on creation white collar jobs while the arts, sports and culture sector is left in the periphery. Katlego is of the view that talent should be nurtured and developed such that the youth may make a living out of it.-Katlego Pelotona urges policy makers to relax immigration laws such that the country could easily attract Foreign Direct Investment without potential investors having to battle with stringent procedures and red-tape bureaucracy.
THE DISCOVERY• OUR OWN VIEW ON YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT• Youth unemployment is a topical issue in the 21st century. Countries of the world are grappling with an escalating number of youth in the unemployed ranks. Botswana, a landlocked country is the center of Southern Africa, is no exception. The International Monetary Fund(IMF) 2012 article IV Consultation reports Botswana’s unemployment rate to be approximately 18 %. This is a worrisome figure for a nation of 2 million people. Suffice it to note that the youth bear the much of unemployment.• Youth unemployment in Botswana is caused by a multiplicity of issues. Lack of appropriate educational qualifications and entrepreneurial ability, a narrow based economy and saturation of the job market are amongst the factors militating against employment opportunities for the youth. The undiversified state of Botswana’s economy (the country mainly depends on exportation of diamonds) has resulted in limited employment opportunities.• Despite the youth being indifferent to entrepreneurship, there are few who have chosen to start up small businesses. Unfortunately, there are no laws in place to protect small business from fierce competition with already established giants. The poultry industry, for instance, is monopolized by few individuals hence many start up poultries find it hard to succeed and inevitably close shop. However, it will be amiss of us to put the blame solely on government for youth unemployment. Most government policies are ineffective but there are other stakeholders who are at fault. Many youth have grown dependent on government hand-outs and social safety nets hence they become complacent albeit unemployed.• The education system also leaves a lot to be desired. The country’s highest institution of learning, the University of Botswana, absorbs students without consideration of job opportunities. For instance, the university accepts thousand of liberal arts students annually despite there being little or no employment opportunities for those disciplines of study. Other tertiary institutions (especially private owned) offer substandard education which does not impart survival skills. Moreover, many of Botswana’s institutions do not offer enough practical experience to students but rather theory-based learning therefore producing incompetent graduates. In the final analysis, our education system churns out graduates with no requisite survival skills. Against this backdrop, government has created a Human Resource Development Advisory Council with a view to align the education system with the needs of the economy.
PROBLEM-TREE ANALYSISRURAL AND URBAN ECONOMIC ALCOHOL AND DRUG DEPENDENCY ON POVERTY INEQUALITIES ABUSE SOCIAL SAFETY NETS EFFECTS YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT CAUSES LACK OF MOTIVATION LACK OF NARROW BASED SATURATION OF THE JOB & ENTREPRENUAL SKILLS/EDUCATION ECONOMY MARKET SKILLS
THE SOLUTION• To overcome the challenge of youth unemployment, we will set a period, in which the problem of youth unemployment wil be overcome; for instance one can term it VISION 2035. Youth unemployment in Botswana is a structural problem hence there is a need for appropriate policy solutions whose effects will bear fruits in the long run. Any rushed short term solution will prove ineffective.• Our solution targets the youth from ages 18-35 due to the following factors;• This is the most dominant group in the country`s population, if one caters for them, there is a likelihood of an impact on the entire citizenry.• Majority of the youth join the workforce at the age of 18 after completing high school, while a small fraction pursue tertiary education.• We also put into consideration the country’s life expectancy of 53, according to The Africa Report(December 2012-January 2013). Ipso facto, age is still on their side.• REFORMING THE EDUCATION SYSTEM: From the youth we engaged emerged a consensus that Botswana`s education system is in dire need of reform because it produces graduates who cannot cope with the high knowledge-intensity of production technologies that characterize the modern market. Therefore we paid more attention to reform the vocational education sector and infusing practical industry experience for theory based courses.• Vocational education; here we want to employ a scheme similar to the National Open Apprenticeship Scheme in Nigeria, this is a scheme that trains the unemployed youth in over 100 occupations, it utilizes production facilities such as workshops and technical instructors of private industries, government institutions and, by way of sub-contracting way side craftsman and tradesman (informal sector operators). Unemployed youth and school leavers are trained for a period of six months to three years by reputable master craftsmen. The current norm is that we have vocational schools that are not broad based, that do not offer many trades and only enrol school leavers, mostly junior certificate holders.• Infusion of practical industry experience for theory based courses; for example a University of Botswana English major would be taught the English language from its evolution to its proper usage without aligning the curriculum to the relevant career opportunities, what we bring now is a paradigm shift, we will come up with a framework that would bring all outlets that absorb graduates of English/or any programme to offer part time employment alongside the student`s period of study from any institution; by that we are certain that by the time these graduates enter the job market they would be competent enough or have all skills necessary to entice a potential employer.
SOLUTION CONTINUED…• GOVERNMENT FUNDING RESEARCH : We advocate for funding of research especially in areas of science and technology; currently there is no policy that regulates or addresses the issue of research funding. Moreover, research will pay dividends in the long run due to ground breaking discoveries or innovations which will lead to creation of new jobs. This sentiment is also shared by Barack Obama in his memoirs (Audacity of Hope) where he commends the federal government for forming the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency and funding it with billions of dollars to engage in “basic research that would eventually help create the Internet, bar codes , and computer-aided design” (Obama: 2006: page 167). There is no denying that the internet has transformed the world and created millions of jobs especially in Silicon Valley where giant companies like Facebook and Google are found.• INVESTMENT ON ARTS AND SPORTS :This is arguably the most ignored sector in as far as generating employment is concerned, for example in sports only two names would ring a bell in any part of the world in as far as our local sports is concerned, that is our Olympic athletes Amantle Montsho and Nijel Amos. A few artists have made it in the music industry and the field of performing arts, in essence our arts and sports need a complete revolution.• We will ensure that there is proper grassroots development from various sports codes and the arts; we will need proper structures in place. The government will have to build from scratch academies, stadia and arts colleges in all districts to ensure a wider outreach to the youth. Currently there is only one college of applied arts in the country. After the completion we will ensure that there is state of the art equipment and experienced personnel running these developments, such as mentors, coaches and scouts to identify talent throughout Botswana. We believe if facilities are there foreign investors will come, currently there is nothing that can lure them to invest on our sports and arts.• We will also engage the private sector in contributing to the arts and sports fraternity, we will come up with ways that would make them more committed to the cause, we will offer them incentives such as tax holidays and concessions.
SOLUTION CONTINUED...• INCENTIVIZING ADULT EMPLOYEES EARLY EXIT FROM PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTOR EMPLOYMENT; This policy is aimed at creating space for the youth, first we would come up with incentives that would motivate adult employees to leave and probably join other sectors such as agriculture, where they would in turn create employment. We will put in place exit packages that are attractive to incumbent employees.• DIVERSIFICATION OF THE ECONOMY AWAY FROM THE DIAMOND INDUSTRY; Botswana like many African countries is dependent on exportations of a single raw material. In 2011 diamonds accounted for 76% of Botswana’s P44.2 billion ($ 6bn) total exports (The Africa Report: December 2012 – January 2013). Diamonds are mainly luxurious and will inevitably get depleted with time. Against this backdrop, we will advocate for diversification of the economy towards areas such as tourism, arts, culture ,sport, and agriculture. All the solutions listed above solutions will be geared towards achieving economic diversification and creating employment opportunities for the youth.
SOLUTION TREE EMERGENCE OF BROAD BASED EMPLOYABILITY OF SUCCESFUL SMALL ECONOMY GRADUATES BUSINESS OUTCOMES YOUTH EMPLOYMENT SOLUTIONS GOVERNMENT EDUCATION WITH FUNDING PRODUCTION INVESTMENT ON RESEARCH AND DIVERSIFICATIION ARTS AND SPORTS DEVELOPMENT OF THE ECONOMY AWAY PRACTICAL INCENTIVISING ADULT FROM DIAMONDSVOCATIONAL EXPERIENCE FOR EMPLOYEES EARLY EXITEDUCATION THEORY BASED FROM PUBLIC AND PROGRAMMES PRIVATE SECTOR EMPLOYMENT
OUTCOMES OF THE SOLUTION• By the year 2035, the youth will remain unemployed as matter of choice because that is when our task will come to completion and we promise that our solutions would be successful as we have allocated ample time for proper implementation of our policies. To measure the extent to which the mission would have been accomplished, the following will be used as success indicators of our solution;• Employability of graduates- by then, all graduates in the market would have gone through our proposed education reforms, that already is a guarantee that the issue of unemployable graduates would be forgotten.• Emergence of successful small businesses- the youth would have gone through either apprenticeship scheme or tertiary education hence abreast with challenges in the market, and how to overcome such.• A diversified economy will be broad based hence provide ample employment opportunities for the youth.• Reduction of the youth on the streets- most criminal activities in Botswana are committed by the youth for day-day survival, in our solution we have come up with schemes that would open opportunities that would provide enough for them and keeping them busy at the same time.
REFERENCES-Obama, B. ( 2006). The Audacity of Hope. New York, Crown Publishers-The Africa Report NO. 6 December 2012 – January 2013. Paris, Groupe Jeune Afrique- International Monetary Fund (2012).Article IV Consultation Report on Botswana: Washington