One in 5 “out-of-school children” globally is Nigerian

Oxfam, an international non-governmental organization (NGO), with the support from the Dutch Ministry and its partner Poise, has trained over 1000 youths to acquire technical skills.

The intent was to equip the young people in Nigeria with relevant skills to enable them get a job or start their own businesses to improve their livelihood.

Oxfam Country Director, Mr. Constant Tchona disclosed this during the International Youth Day Celebration and the launch of a book, “40 First Jobs” chronicling the first job of 40 eminent personalities, held in Lagos.

Represented by Mr. Eyong Sunday Eyong, the Oxfam boss said, in the past three years, the organisation with the support of its partners had been implementing “a 21st Century soft employability and entrepreneurship skills acquisition project.”

He decried the challenge of youth unemployment in Nigeria and the growing number of out-of-school children, saying statistics indicated that one out of five of out-school-children in the world was in Nigeria.

He said: “Nigeria has a growing population of close to 200 million with over 50 per cent of the population being youth.”

“This population is projected to almost double by the year 2050 and yet youth unemployment rate in the country is at an all-time high of about 36.5 per cent,  according to Trading economics.

“Statistics also show that 1 in 5 out-of-school children in the world is a Nigeria; 10.5 million Nigerian children are out of school, according to UNICEF report.

“Nigeria is the poverty capital of the world, overtaking India and the least in the world with regards to social spending. All these have direct impact on the growth and development of young people in Nigeria.”

Tchona said young people needed to be encouraged and supported to acquire the right set of knowledge and skills for the future of work, saying quality education and learning needed to be prioritized.

“This will work through creating an enabling environment for Youth to thrive, improving infrastructure, providing adequate funding, improving curriculum that speaks to changing trends and realities, training and retraining of our teachers including paying attention to the welfare of staff in the sector,” he added.

Managing Director/CEO of Poise, Mrs. Ebele Chukwujama advised the youths to start from the base level and perish the thought of starting big.

According to her, eminent people who have become great business men and women did not start from the top.

She said: “You start from the base level. In the process, you learn patience, you learn tolerance. You need soft skills which are not taught in schools. You learn all these skills at the base level of your career”.

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