By: Envaalde Matheus
The first post-independence education minister, Nahas Angula, said the issue of youth unemployment should not be blamed on the education system but rather on the unstable economy.
Angula, who is now retired, also was the Prime Minister and defence minister before he retired.
Talking Eagle FM on Saturday, Angula said the economy cannot absorb all the graduates produced from local universities and those from abroad.
He said after independence, they created a unified education system and a Namibian content that would serve the Namibian child equally despite the racial, tribal or ethnic background.
“We said education for all. So we prepared our program to benefit all the Namibians. We provided a wide range of education programs; formal education, non-formal education, the Namibian College of open learning, distance learning, etcetera. We also ensured that our programs were linked to other Common Wealth families because we wanted our learners to be comparable,” Angula said.
After independence, the education system that was put in place established the Education and Training Improvement Programme aimed at consolidating and improving the teaching and outcome.
This was to make sure that graduates could find it easy to do something after they graduate rather than waiting for someone to higher them.
Hangula said the Founding President Sam Nujoma appointed an international commission on higher education in a free and independent Namibia, which established universities, training colleges and vocational training centres.
“Education contributes to the development of a human being; the other leg, which is the economy, should take it up from there.
“Our economy is extractive, meaning mining, fishing, construction, and tourism should create jobs for the graduates. We know they’ve been doing it in the past, but after 2016 when the economy started to warble, everything changed drastically. There are no jobs anymore,” he said.
Angula said our economy is not creating jobs, and it cannot absorb a lot of labourers. He said it would be best if Namibia’s economy could depend more on labour than on machinery, so we create opportunities for our graduates.
“I remember when I was still in the government, the defence ministry would recruit thousands of people each year. Namibian police would do the same as other ministries, but that is no longer happening today,” recalled Angula.
“I recommend the current president appoint a commission of experts to troubleshoot and find the amicable solution to the issue.
“Perhaps he should ask the Word Bank to give him a number of experts to chair the commission and share how other countries are tackling the issue. If youth unemployment is a timebomb, we need to address it and not blame the education system,” urged Angula.
On the other hand, the youth believe it’s the responsibility of the government to address the issue through the education system.
This publication spoke to Abed Joseph, who said he feels our education system is failing.
“What is the purpose of our universities offering certain courses considered to be employable in our job market system?” asked Joseph.
Joseph said the government is obliged to create a conducive environment for the people, especially the youth, to create their businesses and make jobs available for others. He urged that the governments should avail funds to everyone but not just a few connected ones that end up squandering the money and spending it unnecessarily.
“They get tenders today; tomorrow, they are driving Mercedes Benzes and Golf 7s.”
“Opportunities should be made equally available to every youth, not a thing of one person owning ten companies or one company getting ten tenders whilst there are other ones who offer the same services, that have not gotten anything for years,” stressed Joseph.
He said so many youths in Namibia are trying so hard, but they aren’t getting funds to grow their projects.
“Why it is always a few connected ones that are always afforded opportunities? Some of them don’t even deliver, yet they still get away with it and get more funding,” he fumed.
Joseph urged the people trusted to execute governmental policies to ensure that everyone’s benefits equally are appropriately managed.