Provided Youths are Prepared
His Excellency the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma has pronounced his commitment to provide job opportunities for youths. This commitment stood prominently in his recent address to his second parliament and many well-meaning Sierra Leoneans, and especially the youths, have lauded him for making such a timely commitment.
Taking into cognizance the incontrovertible fact that Sierra Leone has a youthful population that feels marginalized and disadvantaged, the President’s commitment is a right step, especially if he fulfils it.
President Koroma’s pledge to focus on youth employment becomes more significant when one considers the bitter fact that unemployed, idle and disgruntled youths served as the firewood to blaze the rebel war to an unprecedentedly horrible dimension.
But it is my view that President Koroma’s commitment to employ the youths can only be fulfilled if the youths themselves are prepared to have it fulfilled. How best are the youths prepared for the job opportunities which the president has pledged to provide for them?
This is the burning question that keeps provoking my thoughts. I have raised this question because I have observed that many youths in this country are not employable, as they lack the necessary skills to qualify them for any meaningful employment. Some youths are not physically qualified for even unskilled or manual labour while a good number of them lack the requisite academic qualification or technical skills to gain any serious employment. So, how is Mr. President going to provide jobs for this category of youths who are in a considerably large number?
Also taking into consideration the notorious truth that many of our youths have a very negative attitude towards work, what guarantee has the president that the youths will not end up misusing the job opportunities he will be providing, thereby embarrassing him and rendering his efforts futile?
Mr. President providing job opportunities for the youths is an excellent developmental idea but I humbly submit that it should go along with building the capacity of youths to make them meaningfully employable.
By Joseph Milton Lebbie
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