43 000 youth sent away untrained

29 March 2019 | Education

The shocking desperation among the country's youth has been laid bare in a research paper which indicates that 43 878 young people were turned away from vocational training centres in 2017 and 2018.

According to local researcher Tuyeni Kandume this indicates there is lots of interest in training, but there seems to be no money. “The (Namibia Training Authority) levy does not cover running costs and this is a serious shortcoming. Our companies have to pay the monthly levy to the NTA and they no longer support the Namibia Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT) directly.

It serves no purpose to build more centres and their sustainability is not guaranteed,” she said. The higher education ministry received a N$3.1 billion budget allocation for 2019/20, about N$500 million less than the previous financial year.





An additional N$15 million was allocated for youth entrepreneurship projects, on top of the N$9.5 million to support youth employment and self-employment under the National Youth Council (NYC).

According to finance minister Calle Schlettwein, who announced the national budget on Wednesday in the National Assembly, this is in addition to youth-related projects under the youth ministry, as well as support facilities at the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) and the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development.



Commenting on the N$500 million reduction in the higher education budget, Kandume said: “So with this substantial reduction, how do we deal with the plight and demand of government, which said in the past five years that artisans are the backbone of the economy and they need to develop the country and strive for entrepreneurship?”



She added on the other hand the private sector has done its part and complemented government initiatives through levies used for skills development.



“However this (budget) reduction is so severe that it affects other strategic initiatives aimed at supporting the sector. It is also imperative to highlight that NIMT is underfunded and presently financially unable to survive. The subsidy amount for the training of NIMT trainees is not sufficient and NIMT will have to consider its sustainability seriously,” she said.



The private sector levy per trainee is N$22 850, she added.



According to Kandume in 2017 and 2018 between 1 500 to 2 000 NIMT trainees reached artisan status and more than 90% are employed, while many proceeded with their training and further education in South Africa.



Kandume further questioned government's sincerity when it said that artisans are the backbone of the country, yet money is not directed to train them.



She also pleaded with government to ensure that the higher education budget allocation is geared towards technical and vocational training.



“The sector has gone beyond and has trained 183 128 students in critical skills and out of 128 unemployed youth, 66 have become employers,” she said.



Kandume added that the NYC plays a pivotal role in keeping the Namibian youth engaged.

JEMIMA BEUKES

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