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Govt mulls new plan for youth empowerment

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Ogbonaya Onu

Ogbonaya Onu

…Economic diversification to create more employment opportunities

A new national blueprint that would enhance youth empowerment and reduce unemployment ratio in the country is in the offing, according to the Federal Government.

The Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonaya Onu, who disclosed this at the on-going 20th Offshore West Africa Conference and Exhibition (OWA) in Lagos said his administration is determined to massively create job opportunities for the teeming youths and ensure that they are well engaged in various viable entrepreneurship deals.

According to him, the Ministry is presently working with the office of the Vice President to develop a new blueprint that would spur the youths to be gainfully employed.

Onu, who was represented at the even by the Director General, Institute of Food and Industrial Research, Oshodi, Mrs. Gloria Elemo, applauded the OWA youth empowerment programme, which she said would groom them for employment opportunities in the oil and gas industry.

“The oil and gas sector has been a major contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but the crash in oil prices necessitates the need to look into other viable sectors of the economy,” he said, adding that the country would save about N120 billion in foreign exchange (forex) if diversification is given a favourable consideration.

He said optimal utilisation of alternative sources of energy would spur the entrepreneurship spirit in the youths and position them for greater heights.

Noting that there was an urgent need for provision of employment for the teeming youths, he said the blueprint will entail massive training for the youths among other measures that would drive the goal.

The 20th anniversary of Offshore West Africa Conference and Exhibition kicked off on Tuesday with a total audience of over 2,400 attendees from more than 35 countries.

For the second year in a row, Offshore West Africa included a continuous professional development (CPD) programme, supported by the Energy Institute Nigeria. This Initiative is part of PennWell Corporation’s and Offshore West Africa‘s ongoing Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy to help with the West African region’s objective of developing a fully sustainable sector.

As part of the collaboration between Offshore West Africa and the Energy Institute Nigeria and Lonadek, a Youth Empowerment Programme is also being held for the duration of the event for a selected group of students and young professionals to attend the exhibition and listen to presentations from various local and international companies.

The three-day event is schedule includes many interesting and informative sessions, including a number of industry critical topics such as Subsea Technology, Sustainable Development, Asset Integrity, Deepwater Projects, Field Development, Flowlines & Pipelines, Deepwater Trends & Challenges, Major Project Management, Production Optimization, Regional Trends & Challenges and a further Panel Discussion on the topic of Strategies for Local, Regional and International Collaboration and Effective Local Content Delivery.

Meanwhile, a new report by NOIPolls has revealed that the poor perception of Nigerians towards the country’s educational system is currently fuelling an upsurge in the number of citizens seeking to pursue foreign degrees abroad.

This, according to the report, was followed by the perception that foreign certificates are granted higher value than local certificates; and the consideration that foreign environments tend to be more conducive for studies due to the availability of modern educational facilities and absence of incessant strike actions.

“Interestingly, about 42 per cent Nigerians claim they know someone (either friend or relative) who studied, or currently studying, abroad; and further identified the United Kingdom (27 per cent), USA (23 per cent), Malaysia (16 per cent), Ghana (12 per cent) and Canada (8 per cent) as top educational destinations amongst others.

“Similarly, majority of respondents polled maintained that Nigerians with foreign degrees and certificates fare better than their local counterparts, particularly in terms of academic performance (43 per cent), job excellence (50 per cent) and societal contribution (39 per cent),” it stated.

Education in the 21st Century goes beyond classrooms, books and chalkboards. It is a tool employed to sharpen the mind, broaden horizons and increase the knowledge of an individual while ensuring his mental is continuously improved upon to enable positive impacts in the society the individual lives in, therefore, the development of any nation is strongly tied to the development and quality of its education.

The current state of education in Nigeria is not enviable as it is has consistently ranked low in world rankings and is continuously plagued by inadequate funding and corruption.

According to the report, the 2012 education for all global monitoring report revealed that 10.5 million Nigerian children of school age were out of school, and the country ranked highest in the world for out-of-school children.

As at December 2015, it was reported that Nigerians spent N1.5 trillion on foreign universities yearly compared to the N369 billion currently allocated to Education in the 2016 budget.

According to a recent study, the top three countries Nigerians seek for education are the United Kingdom, United States of America and Ghana.


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