YOUTH EMPOWERMENT THROUGH QUALITY EDUCATION
OKWUOLISE A. GIFT
A RESEARCH FELLOW, ENUGU STATE COLLEGE OF EDUCATION (TECHNICAL), ENUGU
PRESENTED AT THE 1ST ANNUAL CONFERENCE
Venue: No 25/27 Colliery Aveneu, Surveyor House, Enugu
THEME: DEVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT OF EDUCATION FOR NATIONAL TRANSFORMATION
Youths are considered very important in the development and transformation of any nation. For the youths of any nation to live up to expectation, they must be empowered. That is why youth empowerment through quality education cannot be overemphasized. This paper considers quality education, its importance to youth empowerment and in what ways it empowers. The paper recommended proper implementation of the curriculum, continued Teacher Education, adequate budgetary allocation and priority for education and parental encouragement to mention a few.
Nigeria celebrated another Independence Day recently marking her 53rd anniversary; however the pace of development and that at which policy decisions of government and by extension its policy makers are implemented, is not commensurate with how long she has been an independent state.
It is believed that one sure way of measuring the responsiveness or otherwise of any government in the world today, is in its quick implementation of key policy agreement or decisions that will boost the advancement of any sector such policy is formulated for. As a result, it is not surprising to observe that nations that want to be reckoned with in terms of youth empowerment, religious tolerance, technological advancement, national transformation etc strive to position education as a focal point in its march towards development.
It is in the face of this, that the steady decline in the overall standard of education across all tiers in the nation therefore that education experts have continued to clamour for initiatives that would promote massive development of the sector that is daily experiencing backwardness.
In fact, many graduates cannot express themselves properly. Some in practical disciplines can’t practice what they have supposedly learnt in school. While some in offices lack adequate knowledge and sit idling away redundantly due to lack of empowerment.
To empower means “to promote self-actualization or influence of” something or someone (Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, 2000) or to “make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in control of their life and rights” (Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, 6th edition). Empowerment can therefore be said to be the process of increasing the educational, social, economic, political etc strength of an individual.
Opeyemi (The Punch, 2013) quoting Olatokunbo Somolu, chairman, Board of Trustees for Vision 20:2020 in his address at the 16th Vision 20:2020 Career Workshop in Lagos earlier this year noted that “one of the steps needed to move the nation forward is through youth empowerment”. He explained that youth empowerment as a tool for development is an attitudinal, structural and cultural process whereby young people gain the skill, ability and authority to make decisions and implement change in their own lives and the lives of other people (youths and adults inclusive) and the society in general.
He further said, “Youth empowerment is often addressed as a gateway to intergenerational equity, civic engagement and democracy building. The need to guide and nurture our youth who are the future of our great country Nigeria cannot be over-emphasized and further pointed out that empowering of youths is an investment that pays off anytime, anywhere. Adding that, by investing in youths, government corporations, communities, NGOs and individuals can help prepare the youths for the challenges ahead”.
Many things can be said to be...
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