President Hage Geingob has called on young people to find ways of creating employment opportunities for themselves to avoid being jobseekers.
Speaking at a World Children’s Day event at Walvis Bay on Sunday, Geingob said Namibia has done well in educating young people, but continues to face challenges in absorbing them in the job market.
The event was also attended by Botswana president Mokgweetsi Masisi and Zimbabwean vice president Kembo Mohadi.
“We opened up the door after independence for all children to go to school . . . That success has, however, also turned into our problem,” Geingob said.
“We have now put many through school, and they could not get jobs. The solution is now for our people to become their own job creators. The government has to provide a conducive environment for that.”
Geingob said the biggest chunk of the national budget goes to education, yet the results are not desirable.
“There is thus a need to improve on teacher training, child-centred education and an education system where children do not just parrot things.”
Masisi said: “Write your own books, develop applications and illustrations that make sense to you. Collaborate with children from other countries and learn more about their countries and how they do things.
“Africa is the fastest-growing continent when looking at the amount of trade.
“Nowadays, we hear about new industries like green hydrogen in Namibia. We also have the most underdeveloped natural resources in the world.
“Do not lose hope, but be the solution to the problems in your country,” Masisi said.
Zambia’s minister of community development and social services, Doreen Mwamba, said a lot has changed since attending the World Children’s Day celebrations in 2021.
“We did not even have a law that protects and promotes children’s rights. We made sure the law was enacted to protect and promote children’s rights within six months. After this, we realised the judicial system was not ready and we worked with the judiciary for child-friendly courts to be opened.
“Last year, we recruited over 30 000 teachers and are recruiting more this year,” Mwamba said.
Zimbabwean vice president Mohadi said his country declared that education would be free up to secondary school level.
“Zimbabwe is currently 98% literate. We teach and encourage innovation in institutions as we want to promote our own employment,” he said.
Meanwhile, United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) regional director for eastern and southern Africa Etleva Kadilli said many children are missing out on basic services that are essential to protect them.
Kadilli said she was happy to see the group of young, bright, educated children who are full of hope for the future.
“I count on your support to rally other heads of state and make sure you invest more and better in education, especially in early childhood education.
“It is not only about education, but also about protecting our children against violence, abuse and neglect. The climate crisis the world is facing also requires action for our generations,” she said.
Minister of gender equality, poverty eradication and social welfare Doreen Sioka warned the youth against drug and alcohol abuse.
“You need to set examples and be good leaders, as we were. Drugs and alcohol will take you nowhere. Concentrate on education . . .”
Zimbabwe will be the next country to host the event.
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