A man’s gift maketh room for him and bringeth him before great men. – Prov. 18:16
Even the Holy Book recognizes the importance of skill. According to the above scripture, if you have a gift, talent or skill, you will stand before kings and great men. A king, wealthy men, governor or president of a country can never cut his hair by himself, he needs a barber. It is somebody that will work on their cars when they have mechanical challenges, the president cannot sew his clothes by himself, he needs somebody to do that, amongst others.
Skill is like a key use in opening door of fortune. … Lack of skills is one of the major causes of crime and frustration. It is interesting to note that when we remove the ‘S’ from skill, it becomes KILL. Without skill, one can be killed out of depression, frustration, crime and other means or the person might be killing for money due to joblessness or greed.
Nigeria is bedeviled with countless of problems, despite her oil wealth inhibiting her development and unemployment is one of the major problems that breed crimes and other illicit acts.
Many youths who graduated with good certificates and cannot secure jobs settle for menial jobs while those who could not humble themselves sit at home waiting for God to provide them with jobs while others resulted to committing suicide out of frustration.
Experts claimed that more people are becoming frustrated on daily basis due to unavailability of jobs especially those staying in cities, many might plunge into river just like it has been happening in Lagos.
There is no doubt that unemployment rate is increasing on daily basis because of the number of students that are leaving secondary schools including those that are been churned out from higher institutions on an annual basis.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS (2009, 2011) , the national unemployment rates for Nigeria between 2000 and 2011 showed that the number of unemployed persons constituted 31.1% in 2000; 13.6% in 2001; 12.6% in 2002; 14.8% in 2003; 13.4% in 2004; 11.9% in 2005; 13.7% in 2006; 14.6% in 2007; 14.9% in 2008; 19.7% in 2009; 21.1% in 2010 and 23.9% in 2011.
In 2012, unemployment rate in Nigeria increased to 24%. Such wide rate of unemployment was transmitted through the various states’ unemployment rates. For instance, within the period under review (2000-2011), unemployment rate in Akwa Ibom State fall from 18.5% in 2000 to 12.3% in 2002.
However, from then onward, it maintained a steady increase from 14.4% in 2003 to 15.3% in 2006, falling slightly to 13.5% in 2007 and then moving onward to 34.1% in 2008 and falling slightly to 25.3% in 2010.
Nigeria Economic Report released by the World Bank in 2011 stated that unemployment rate worsened from “12% of the working population in 2006 to 24% in 2011”.
The unemployment rate continues to be on the increase and this has resulted in the increase in social vices in the country because unemployment and poverty have never been a national concern for all the past and present governments. They make promises each time they are campaigning and when they come into office they never attend to the unemployment needs of the people hence the rising rate of crimes in the country.
The origin of unemployment in Nigeria can be traced back to the oil boom era of 1970s. During this period, Nigerian government and individuals abandoned skills acquisition and utilization through diversified entrepreneurship practices that have the capability to boost both individual and the country’s economic ego. Emphasis shifted from entrepreneurial practices to paper qualification which has resulted in increased unemployment in the country.
The nation’s agricultural, industrial and the then bubbling public service sectors were able to effectively absorb most of the labour force. Nigerian citizens before the oil boom believed in what one can do in order to ensure self-sustenance. For instance, an increase in the economic status of the country was as a result of diversified activities bothering on agricultural products such as cocoa, groundnut, palm kernel, palm oil, cassava, in addition to other craft practices. The educational system in Nigeria then encouraged craft practices even at the primary school level. During the period, Nigeria had so many skilled technicians such as carpenters, painters, auto-mechanics, fashion designers, hair dressers, among others.
Faced with the foregoing, Nigeria established the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) in March 1986 with its programmes formally launched in January 1987. The main objective of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) was the responsibility of Job Creation to the teeming army of the unemployed in Nigeria.
The programme was aimed at designing and articulating policies to tackle general unemployment problem in the economy. This includes obtaining and maintaining a data bank on declared vacancies and employment in the economy with a view to reduce job search cost. The activities of NDE cover all sectors of the economy.
Since its establishment, NDE has been grappling with the nagging issue of employment creation through its various programmes such as employment counseling services and job linkages, vocational skills acquisition training, entrepreneurial training and enterprise creation, training for rural employment promotion, training for labour-based transient works, collaboration with other relevant agencies and organization, among others.
There is no doubt that skill acquisition is the solution to every country’s problems because it helps to solve unemployment issues. It makes individuals especially youth to be self-employed, diverse job opportunities are created through engagement of other youths, it helps efficiency and effectiveness, wealth is created because daily earnings when put together and invested become big and finally it reduces crime rates because a busy man will not have time to be planning or thinking of evil.
China, India and other countries with their population recognize the importance of skill acquisition hence they ensure that their youths are engaged. They believe that when their youths are skilled, more than half of their problems are solved because after empowering them with equipment and probably cash to start up, they will not only be self-reliance but also create job opportunities for others who might leave schools the following year.
In Nigeria, one of the greatest mistakes made by parents today is that whenever their children/wards leave secondary schools, they allow them to stay at home doing nothing in the name of waiting for admission.
Many of them who couldn’t secure admission on time and in the process lost their parents to death or incapacity ended up frustrated but those who engage their children or put them in computer schools and other places to learn a skill end up getting relieved.
Some of the secondary school students out of boredom join wrong gangs and in the process miss their destiny for life. Many are today found in abattoirs and other awkward places looking for survival.
The important of learning a skill after secondary school education is that the child can earn some money and also perfect a skill while waiting for admission into higher institution. Secondly, when he eventually gets admitted, he can continue with such skills on campus and earn money to take care of his immediate needs in school.
By taking care of his needs, he helps relieve his parents of the problems of school fees and other needs and he becomes responsible in the process. Research has it that majority of youths who trained themselves in schools to acquire certificates always do well in life, they always strive harder to make ends meet. They are ready to do any legitimate work to earn a living rather than wait for vacancy for years. Some of them who cannot secure jobs with their certificates from higher institutions always fall back to the skills they learn over the years.
And lastly, research has shown that many graduates are not employable hence the increase in unemployment rate. Some cannot express themselves let alone pass any interview hence the need for the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC to include skill acquisition as part of their curricular.
However, due to lack of skill, many youths indulge in illicit acts like robbery, kidnapping, smoking and consuming things that intoxicate them. They end up becoming touts and criminals that are being used by politicians and when they get to offices, they abandon them because they don’t have a skill or certificates to engage them in offices.
Importantly, there are so many skills one can acquire after secondary school education and they are: Computer education (Typing, graphic design, website design, etc), barbing, laundry, photography, repairs (phone, electronics, etc), mechanic, tailoring/fashion design, hat making, catering, driving, video coverage, printing, just to mention a few.
There is need for government to include skill acquisition in secondary school curriculum and most especially, the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC in order to help them become self-reliance after their service year while waiting to be engage with a white collar job, by so doing, they can have something doing to make ends meet. Even footballers, sports men and women need skill acquisition because their talents is just for a limited number of years, the farthest they can last is between 20 – 45 years, what happens after sporting life?
The corporate bodies should also sponsor and support government in the area of skill acquisition because if the youths are skilled, they will be engaged and have no time for crime hence there will be peace in the community they are operating from but if they are not skilled and jobless, crime rate will soar like armed robbery, kidnapping and they and their workers will not be spared.
Government should enact a law that will ensure that either skill is taught in school or every student after secondary school education should acquire a skill. It will help to solve many problems in future.
It is believed that if youths are skilled after secondary school education, unemployment will not only be solved, frustration, suicide missions and crime rates will drop drastically or be eliminated entirely. Poverty would have been solved and instead job opportunities and wealth creation will be the order of the day. Parents and the country at large will also have rest of mind because better and intelligent youths will be produced and the future and aspirations of the country will be secured.
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