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Discourse on ICT, industry linkage and popular culture dominate youth day

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Hundreds of young people celebrated International Youth Day as they shared the challenges facing young people and ways of enhancing education through the use of Information Communication and Technology (ICT). In addition, talks on the right education with right skills for market and industry linkage and inculcating popular culture and national values in education dominated the discussions at the event held on August 8, 2019 at Taifa Hall, Main Campus.

 

The Guest of Honour, Jerome Ochieng, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Information Communication and Technology, pointed out that the next gold is data mining. The young people who will be involved in data science, data mining, artificial intelligence, will be better placed. He pointed out that the youth related issues are a priority to the government as the youth are relatively marginalized in socio-economic outcomes including employment and face challenges like unemployment, underemployment, sexual and gender based violence, economic exploitation, high levels of youth inactivity and idleness.

“Our education system aims at producing competent and competitive individuals who can offer creative and innovative solutions to challenges that beset us. As young innovators, you are called upon to create products that quickly meet the existing needs and explore the potential presented in the ever-expanding creative economy,” he said.

The Principal Secretary pointed out some of the government efforts geared towards helping the youth to get access to capital to start their entrepreneurship endeavors. These include setting up various funds such as the Affirmative Action Funds that include the Youth Enterprise and Development Fund (YEDF), National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF), Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) and Uwezo Fund which the youth can take advantage of.

Dr. Francis Owino, Principal Secretary, State Department of Youth, pointed out that as a country we need education that will transform the young people. The three focus areas should be: education that centers on values, education driven by ICT and education driven by skills. “The youth is dynamic and versatile, they need to be fully harnessed, optimized to contribute to the countries development,” he said.

He pointed out that the young people face many challenges such as unemployment, economic exploitation, early pregnancy, limited access to safe public spaces. He revealed that the government has embarked on creating youth spaces in all the 47 counties. The youth centres will be equipped with ICT services, HIV counselling services and nurturing youth talent.

University of Nairobi Ag. Vice Chancellor, Prof. Isaac Mbeche, observed that the Youth need to be equipped with relevant skills to pursue fulfilling careers.

“As a country, we are blessed with a young, energetic and versatile population, who need to be equipped with the right skills. We have the Office of Career Services which helps the young people in getting internships, attachments and jobs.  We have embraced Ajira Digital Program which promises to help young people get thousands of jobs online,” he said.

The youthful event was attended by students from all universities and institutions of higher learning across the country.