Youth to Youth Empowerment (Y2YE) Network has embarked on a campaign aimed at raising awareness among students and secondary school teachers about the courses offered at Technical Colleges and the relevance and significance of pursuing technical education.
The initiative comes against the background where most students have the mind-set that after secondary education they are all going to be enrolled in public and private universities disregarding the technical world.
Furthermore, more students do not value technical education thinking it is cheap or it is something that cannot give them a meaningful life.
According to Y2YE Northern Region Coordinator Austin Moyo this is the case due to lack of appropriate information for informed decision making hence their coming in to breach the existing information gap.
“It is common knowledge that lack of appropriate information for informed decision making does affect access and provision of technical education. This has manifested itself in the poor image that the labour market has had of TEVET.
This has also enforced gender perception and stereotyping such that TEVET has often been portrayed as strictly reserved for males,” Moyo said.
He added, “This belief has resulted in serious omissions in national development plans where females have been marginalised. According to the World Bank 2010 Report on Education System in Malawi, data from TEVET institutions indicate females constituting less than 35% of the total student population.”
Moyo expressed optimism that the campaign will encourage more students, especially females, to enrol and acquire technical and vocational skills through which he said Malawi can make a significant stride in reducing high unemployment rate prevalent among the youth.
He said they aim to reach out to over 50 secondary schools across Malawi and in the northern region they will reach out to 14 schools where so far they have been to Mzuzu Government Secondary school, Chibavi CDSS, and Msongwe CDSS in Mzuzu City and also to St Augustine CDSS and Mtetete CDSS in Nkhatabay.
Y2YE is implementing this campaign with funding from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) under the Skills and Technical Education Program (STEP).
The campaign events are spiced up by Robert Chiwamba who performed ‘Mwetu mwetu’ a poem that was written motivating young people especially girls to pursue technical education.
Youth unemployment in the country is estimated at 23 percent and unlike in the past, many graduates from universities and colleges offering white collar job careers are spending years without finding employment.
Recently the government embarked on Technical Community Colleges Programme which seeks to equip the youth with skills by establishing community colleges in all the districts, for more youths to become entrepreneurs.