“We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.” ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt
Life is becoming increasingly difficult for youths in this country. For them to be able to distinguish themselves, they have to be athletes, entertainers and wedding vendors. These are the platforms in which they are currently being heard. A reason most of our young graduates are lost is because academic excellence isn’t recognized anymore.
From childhood they are made to work so hard to make good grades, they have such high hopes for the future. Eventually they head to the Universities, a lot of students work hard, study till day break, go to night class and in the end graduate with good grades. Everyone is so happy, family and friends celebrate the graduation. They still maintain the high hopes that the future is indeed bright.
After the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC), the real challenge begins.They start applying for jobs(mind you a fresh ex-corper still believes that he/she can pull down heaven, the world is at their feet and people are ready to be their bootlickers because guess what!!! they are graduates).
I sat down one day and really thought about it, in a year there are three batches of corp members. in a batch the amount of people being churned out by our Universities are just too much. When I served we were more than 3000 people in the camp, multiply that with the number of states we have and don’t forget there are three batches in a year. I asked myself which positions are these youths going to occupy when they pass out from NYSC. Majority of them join the teeming unemployed youths in the country.
When these people recently pass out, they think that there are jobs waiting for them somewhere, by the time they start applying, writing series of aptitude tests and going for interviews at their own expense and nothing happens, the company or firm doesn’t get back to them as promised or if they are lucky enough, they get a very brief email telling them sorry they weren’t accepted because some people did better than them, they become hit with reality. Their confidence begins to plummet, but then at that point they still have some hope, so they make their laptops, smart phones and tabs their best friends and keep applying to every job imaginable, whether it suits their profiles or not. After some time the little self confidence they had left slowly ebbs away, then depression, frustration,fear,stress, discouragement and despair sets in.
Standards are so lowered, they accept and settle for anything that comes their way. Important things like how much they are really worth, room for improvement and growth are set aside. The thing that will matter the most is the little stipend they are paid to keep body and soul together.
That is one of the reasons you see some people in a particular place for 20 years, some of them just work at a particular plant or a factory doing the same thing for more than 20 years. yes!!! that is the reality. The reason is that they get so little , that they can’t even start a side business or become independent with that amount of money. When they settle down and start expanding their families,it becomes really difficult for them to leave their comfort zone by looking for another opportunity, so they remain at that place because they don’t want to take any risk. They are plagued with questions of fear of the unknown. the real question is,are they really taking good care of themselves or their families by remaining in that one place?
This is what our country has become, a place that do not encourage or empower the youths. A place where a youth who is perceived to become great one day is pulled back.
I know of a company that recruited mostly Ordinary National Diploma (OND) holders, the excuse was that they needed people they can pay, i call it looking for cheap labour. They lure these able bodied men and women, because of the money they will earn(which they will later find out in the long run is a mere stipend), pushes their education aside, they don’t go further to obtain their Higher National Diploma (HND) or even Bachelor’s degree. They become tied down in that job, at the end of the day, time is passing by. They wake up one day and realize that age is no longer an advantage and they need to settle down, so they say to themselves jeez!!, there is no need furthering my education, I promise to give my children the best education to make up for what I have lost. The truth is that humans only have one life to live, live it the best way you can, your kids will eventually grow up and make their own decisions (with the foundations you laid of course). But the thing is have you lived a fulfilled life?
The government needs to urgently look into this worrisome unemployment dilemma and find a way to encourage academic excellence. Companies should find a way to scout for students who did excellently and offer them jobs, this would make such students role models for their peers and that will also make them know that hard work can be recognized and it pays off.
Go to social media platforms, a lot of noise is made about actors, actresses, athletes, wedding vendors and musicians . For the record, I am not saying there is anything wrong with that, but imagine what will happen if such noise is made about those who have achieved academic successes, say the best young mathematician, novelist, a young doctor who broke a record in the medical community, a young outstanding lawyer who won a high profile case, a young engineer who came up with an amazing invention, a young person who is serving and contributing to the welfare of his or her community in one way or the other. There are outstanding young people who are doing well and should be awarded, which can motivate the up and coming. Something that is going to make them believe that going to school isn’t a waste of time,that it is highly rewarding.
The youths need a form of motivation , jobs should be created, companies should give the youths opportunities to prove themselves. The government has an enormous task ahead, we can’t keep importing technical hands to handle most of our high tech jobs or rather giving expatriates jobs that should be handled by local experts. Countries like China, India, Japan and Korea are not joking with their science and technology. They are training their youths massively and giving them the opportunity to discover themselves. In years to come I won’t be surprised if one of them becomes number one in the world. We have to look inwards and that entails bridging the gap by not abandoning the youths because they are the future.