Our youths are not failing the system, the system is failing our youth. Ironically, the very youth who are being treated the worst are the people who are going to lead us out of this nightmare.
Just as said by Rachel Jackson, it is easy to suggest two things from the above quotes:
- The youths are the hope of the future, and
- The government have failed the youths.
As defined by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), “youth” is best understood as a period of transition from childhood to adulthood. The age range of 15-24 is identified as the specification for youth.
Without doubt, Nigeria is a blessed country with abundant human and natural resources. The youth are the spirit of today and the hope for a better tomorrow, the future.
The ideas and vision of youths are important for a continued development of societies they find themselves. Their development and intellectual perspective are key for the progress and growth of societies.
The challenges faced by keeping youths involved are a huge concern these days. Problems such as youth unemployment, corruption among others are becoming critical for the development of youth in the country.
In a society or country such as ours, characterized by greed, recklessness and misuse of public funds, it is incredible to note that the youths have been exposed to corruption.
Corruption in government, in public parastatals and so on have all rubbed on to our youths. Corruption has indeed become one menace that is spreading across all areas of society.
These days, we find a typical Nigerian youth with the dream of also going into government and claim whatever is “their share” of what is left of the country’s funds.
Corruption has changed the mindset of any average youth to something negative. They now see being corrupt as a growing trend and as such feel optimistic to get involved.
The government also being corrupt has ways in which they impede youth development. Even with a positive mindset as a youth, the right things have not been put in place by the government to ensure better treatment for truths and of course, aid their development.
Transition from school to getting job remains a major challenge in youth development. Employment as generally defined allows for able and willing individuals to get a job and earn a living.
In most cases, people who fall under that category do not get a job. It is either that there is no job opportunities or jobs have been gifted to unqualified individuals based on familiarity rather than merit thereby leaving the competent and qualified ones out of jobs.
The unemployment rate in Nigeria is quite unsettling. Statistics show that almost 75% of those who are able and willing to work cannot find gainful employment especially among young graduates. As a result, youths are either unemployed or exposed to crime.
It is also important to note that poverty is also one of the leading problems of youth development. The rate of poverty in the country is devastating. The rich seems to keep getting richer while the poor continue to struggle to make ends meet.
Poverty impedes learning. A poor family find it hard at times to send their children to school and even when they try, most times they end up not being able to fund the rest of their child’s education.
In recent times, children drop out during secondary school education, a stage in which youth development should begin. Sometimes, parents indulge their children in any sort of trade or any kind of labour thereby exposing them and contributing to their social and behavioral problems.
4. Social Media/Internet
While some may say the internet brought in more good than harm, it is still evident that one of the problems faced by youth is the internet itself. In this technological era, youths are exposed to many vices that are linked to the internet.
It is pretty ironic that the internet was created to save time. These days, youths spend more time on their phones rather than even their studies.
Menaces such as internet fraud, prostitution, violence among others are some of the wrong things the internet has encouraged. Though, it is safe to say the inventors of the internet developed it as a means of faster learning, the modern day youth have learnt a lot of negatives from the platform.
5. Negative Western Culture
Apart from the social media or internet, another problem brought by civilization is adoption of negative western culture. Every youth wants to “belong”.
From sagging to drug addiction, the western culture has indeed had a bad influence on the society.
The negative consequences however is that most Nigerian youth who are not productively engaged are hooked to various strange western culture thereby distancing themselves from the cherished cultural values of the society.
6. Lack of Access to Support
in recent times, it is visible to know that encouragements boosts performance. Youths with great ideas and intellect are not accessible to support to help them bolster their works and even improve on their ideas.
Most times, youths with a good plan or even good ideas that might boost the economy in one way or another are not given the kind of encouragement they deserve.
Funds are not given to help bring their ideas and plans to fruition and in cases where funds are made available, they are not enough. As such, dashed hopes easily propel vulnerable youths to various crime.
7. Quality of Education
Another problem of youth development is the quality of education.
Youths, at times, do not have access to functional and qualitative education. The educational system has not adequately equipped our young people with relevant and beneficial skills and knowledge to face the challenges of after school life.
They are therefore not able to create opportunities for themselves rather than seek.
Self reliance, self discipline and social responsibility are characteristics of an average youth in any society or country. The youths are so dependent these days, waiting for the government to do what is right.
It is a common knowledge that government are to be blamed for many problems of youth development but it is also advisable for youths to find a good way of making a living without depending on the government for help.
9. Adopting Bad Lifestyle
This can sometimes be influenced by peer influence. Every youth wants to drive a Benz even without working. From different forms of scams to dealing in drugs, the lifestyle of most youths today is bad and totally underwhelming.
10. Inappropriate Allocation of Funds
Nigeria is a great country blessed with many natural resources. The “Giant of Africa” as we are called, seems to have total dependency on oil. Other natural resources that can also bring in good returns are therefore abandoned.
This creates imbalances and an increasingly unequal distribution of wealth between different sectors of society such as youth development.
1. Youth Empowerment
There is need for youth self reliance. Youth empowerment would check the problem of dependency and also give training to youths and ensure they have a standard living.
2. Entrepreneurial Programmes
Youth entrepreneurship programmes should be made compulsory right from secondary school. Curricula of higher institutions should also be redesigned to accommodate such programs.
And for youth without means to attend school, schools of vocational training should be made available for them. This would ensure youths are job creators rather than job seekers.
3. Even Distribution of National Wealth
There should be even allocation of funds to make it available for all sectors of society.
4. Involving Youths in Sports
Youths should be encouraged to actively participate in sports. And also the government should finance the sport sector to make it comfortable for them. This also can check out vices of youths.
5. Improved Educational System
There is need for an improved educational system and also a need to relate the system to the job market. This would help solve problems of unemployment, leaving youths prepared for after school life.
6. Poverty Alleviation
Poverty alleviation programs should be set up to gradually help check the problem of poverty. Parents should be set up for business or be empowered and advised to learn a trade or new advancements in technology that can help them achieve a standard living. This should help in taking care of the family and also successfully funding a child to school.
7. More Support For Youths
Scholarships should be given to encourage students while also soft loans and grants can be handed to youths to help assist or fund an idea or project.
8. Exploration of Other Resources
This would help reduce unemployment and also help in diversifying the economy.
9. Involving Youths in Government
Youths should be handed roles in government to help bring in young and fresh minds into the sector.
10. Self Discipline
It is mandatory for a youth to be disciplined. Bad friend influence, drug addiction, bad lifestyle, wrong use of internet/social media among others should be avoided.
Every young Nigerian craves for a better society. Even involving them and keeping them engaged would make change easily attained. Mobilizing their creativity and passion as well as their unique perspective should become priorities.
The youth are the solution and not the problem! We are the future and hope for a better tomorrow.
I wish to end with quote by Eric Hoff which stated:
“If a society is to preserve stability and a degree of continuity, it must know how to keep its youths from imposing their tastes, attitudes, values, and fantasies on everyday life”.
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