WORLD YOUTH SKILLS DAY LAUNCHED
“Mushimba, emphasizes Skills Keep the Economy Moving”
14TH JULY, 2020
Higher Education Minister Dr. Brian C. Mushimba officially launched the World Youth Skills celebrations under the theme “Skills Keep the Economy Moving.” Dr. Mushimba explained that the theme interprets the importance of skills amidst the COVID – 19 pandemic and equally supporting the 2020 international theme for the World Youth Skills Day “Skills for a Resilient Youth”.
Dr. Mushimba said the World Youth Skills Day provides for a platform and a unique opportunity for dialogue between young people, skills development institutions, such as colleges and universities, the private sector, policy makers and development partners.
Minister Mushimba said the Government through his Ministry is cognizant of the ever – increasing significance of skills as the world is embarking on a transition towards a sustainable model of development under the leadership of His Excellency Dr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu.
“The government of the Republic of Zambia in its 7th National Development Plan recognizes the need for improved education and skills development as instrumental in developing the youth and creating societies that are better able to respond to social and economic development challenges they face”. He said.
Dr. Mushimba said the COVID – 19 pandemic has resulted in lockdown measures, leading to economic recession, disruption of education and closure of Higher Education Institutions, and business at national and global levels, threatening continuity of skills development and all forms of work based learning such as apprenticeships and internships.
Minister Mushimba said the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) estimated that nearly 70% of the world’s learners were affected by the school closures across various educational levels by early May 2020.
In addition the Minister realized that the economic recession resulting from the COVID – 19 crisis is causing a massive rise in unemployment and underemployment, he further noted that one in six young people stopped working since the onset of COVID-19 according to the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) estimates.
He however, said the Government of the Republic of Zambia, without living anyone behind, is doing everything possible to ensure that the youth are provided with an enabling environment to confront the challenges of the COVID – 19.
“Skills development plays a big part in fostering the resilience of young people”. He added.
Minister Mushimba said it was crucial for the Government and stakeholders to ensure the continuity of skills development, especially through distance and blended learning to guarantee the safety of staff in education and training workforce while providing continuity to all learners.
Dr. Mushimba said the technical skills development sector of which his Ministry leads seeks to ensure that Fast-Track skills programmes are implemented to support quick economic recovery.
“My Ministry is supporting Innovative digital technologies that support skills and entrepreneurship development despite the challenges that the COVID 19 pandemic has presented, however, programmes are being implemented within the context of the Seventh National Development Plan and Vision 2030 for Zambia”. He said.
Dr. Mushimba understood that there was need to ensure that relevant skills that address local, regional and international needs are imparted onto youths to make them competitive today and tomorrow.
He further said that one of the priority of the SADC technical skills development strategy for 2018 to 2027 is a regional approach to developing and improving technical and vocational training addressing issues to do with Quality Assurance, Curriculum Review and Development, Assessments and Certification, Qualifications Frameworks and developing skills for a Green Economy.
Dr. Mushimba also explained that as a member state of SADC, Zambia is committed to ensuring that the technical skills development system expands and provides the requisite skills despite the disruption caused by the COVID – 19 pandemic.
Minister Mushimba quoted the World Bank Report 2020 that says “Low skills perpetuate poverty and inequality”. Skills development can reduce unemployment, raise income and improve standards of living. He added that (from the quote) helping young people to develop skills makes economic sense.
Dr. Mushimba was speaking during the launch when he featured on the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) Television.
Chanda Muwowo – PRO