A disease bedeviling the African continent is the steady rise of the unemployment rate. Most of the government policies and budgets are structured one way or the other in order to fight poverty, which is one of the results of unemployment.
According to the City Press newspaper of Jan. 17, 2015, fees of private schools and former model C schools increase by an average 10 percent a year. There is also the issue of stationary and uniforms, the price of which its pegged at 6 percent per year. With this rate in prices seeing one’s child going for high school a parent will part with a whooping 235 000 rand. In as much as these and other statistics in the media and research are not 100 percent true, education in recent times proves taxing.
When my generation was growing up in the dusty roads of Ascot, in Gweru Zimbabwe. Parents did not worry about fees and stationary. These were either covered in free bursaries or government aid.
With the new millennium came change and the people had to see it themselves. It was a long and painful journey to see brothers and sisters spending sleepless nights reading under the moonlight or by candlelight in the hope of a better future. Older generations believe education is the door to every dream one could imagine.
Today, if one looked at how youth spent their time in the township, one would wonder. Some of the youth are graduates and some passed high school with flying colors. However, they spend their time drinking and smoking because they want to forget their present problems. They allege the reason is there are no jobs.
Like many industries, factories and companies closed. With the closings, retrenching, and other companies under liquidation it is a hustle to get a job. Many graduates see themselves roaming the streets doing odd jobs like informal trading. Some engaged in underpaid jobs and some in drug abuse. With the price of fees growing at an unprecedented pace and after the whole process of learning and achieving high grades, the end result is unemployment. What then becomes of the statement, “invest in education and investment without risk,” because education is not proving to be risk friendly.
In many African countries, governments are trying to alleviate unemployment through different means. In South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and many other countries, there is the resuscitation and development of technicons or skill-oriented colleges. These colleges teach students the skills required to get the job done. Skills in carpentry, electronics, brick laying, mechanics, and computer engineering are the future of the continent.
A comparative introspection with the Western counterparts can prove that critical skills can be the backbone of every nation. Look at the German engineering of cars, American refinery of oil, Japanese and the Chinese manufacturing industries. All these great nations developed skills that catapulted them to greatness.
Entrepreneurship skills and reasearch and development is also some of the instruments that can be used to put to an end to the rising rates in education and the unemployment rate. Entrepreneurship involves innovation, which can be used to alleviate world problems using sustainable means, be it in social or economic fora. Research and development on the other hand involves benefaction and end product analysis for sustainable results. With the above instruments implemented, education will not be the risk it is now, but a risk-proof venture and Africa would be kissing unemployment goodbye.
Written by Samuel Charandura
Edited by Jeanette Smith
City Press: Model C schools costlier than varsities
Global Statistics: Education
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Paul Saad’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License