The Assistant Director General for Education at the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization or UNESCO Dr. Qian Tang has disclosed 80 percent of the population of Liberia below 36 is unemployed.
He said this is as a result of not being able to acquire vocational and technical education, adding that the Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Technical and Vocational Education and Training or TVET here through partnership with UNESCO has provided great opportunity to all Liberian youth to acquire tertiary education and be prepare for the global market.
Dr. Tang spoke over the weekend at a National TVET Legislation Validation Seminar held at a local hotel in Sinkor, Monrovia. He emphasized that education is a basic human rights and for public good as well as key component of national growth, getting toward the 2030 agenda for sustainability.
He congratulated the Government and people of Liberia for their high performance in the fight against the deadly Ebola Virus with support of international partners, which successfully brought the epidemic to an end.
According to Dr. Tang, the issue of youth unemployment is seriously a major implication for society and penalty to national security for any country.
Addressing participants at the seminar, he extended gratitude to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the Inter-Ministerial Task Force on TVET for prioritizing vocational education. According to him, TVET also provides more jobs for potential people who desire to improve their lives, adding for the past three years, UNESCO introduced a program in Liberia with skills on TVET, but weakness contributed to its fragmentation.
He pointed out that sadly in Liberia, not only that young people are unemployed, they also lack employable skills to compete for available jobs. He disclosed that foreign direct investments of over US$20 billion has been attracted to the country and already, some have started yielding and creating jobs, but owing to the lack of absorptive capacity, Liberians are losing lot of the available employment opportunities.
“Young people are not only unemployed, but lack the skills to compete toward available jobs,” he emphasized. Speaking on behalf of Education Minister George K. Werner, the Assistant Minister for Vocational Education at MOE, Dukuly Saku said for the past years, TVET has impacted the public in terms of education.
He revealed that there has been response from companies that graduates don’t meet the criteria employers want, something he said needs to be looked at seriously. Assistant Minister Saku also said the ministry has been in the vanguard through the means of TVET to help develop Liberia, stressing that in the past TVET has been a strong tower toward improving the educational system, ranging from junior high to senior secondary schools.
“The vision of the Liberian President, her interest, she has in TVET did form an inter-ministerial task force to look at TEVT,” he added. The Assistant Minister has meanwhile commended the Ministry of Youth and Sports for its hard work over years in ensuring TVET is brought to permanent for the existence of education and training.
By Zee Roberts