We live in a society where learning, like change, is inevitable. We have become familiar with phrases like ‘unlearn’ and ‘relearn’. It is 2020 and concepts that seemed uncertain, in the year 2010, have now become concepts to unlearn and relearn. At this point in our lives, the global pandemic has shown us how to unlearn some misconstrued health issues and relearn new and more trusted ones. However, unlike the learning of new and positive health actions, some things cannot be learned quickly and without much external guidance.
Today, the world celebrates the World Youth Skills Day, a day we remind ourselves and agree to transform the formal school experience, build the skills young people need for productive lives, and connect job seekers with employers. It’s important that this day is not just about or limited to youths, it is how we can all join hands to make it happen. In a world where one in five young people are NEET: Not in Employment, Education or Training (with three being women), it is no reason why we should all contribute to the education and skill development of youths. Sadly, it is estimated that nearly 70% of the world’s learners have been affected by the closure of schools across all education levels. The times we’re in might have significantly reduced the chances of youth skill development.
In Nigeria, although the majority of the students and youths have been left unemployed or even unsure about the status of their education, their resilience and eagerness to learn elsewhere (online) is on an all time high. That is why online education and training are key helpers and determinants of success in the labor market and should be made more accessible. According to ILO, the short-term reactions need to have a longer-term vision in mind to ensure that we build a better future of work for this generation. This includes helping skills development systems adapt to changes brought by the pandemic and by the longer-term impact this crisis brings to the changing world of work in general.
In post-COVID-19 societies, as young people are called upon to contribute to the recovery effort, they will need to be equipped with the skills necessary to successfully manage the new life.
We must join hands to educate and be a part of this change. The education of these youths is a step in solving unemployment and other economic issues of our societies – developed and developing countries alike.