Challenges facing Nigerian youth

Challenges facing Nigerian youth
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Green Skills for Youth: Empowering Nigeria’s Future Generation Towards a Sustainable World

Nigerian youth

As the global community unites in celebration of this year’s International Youth Day, the theme, “Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World,” takes center stage. On this occasion, stakeholders from across the globe are not only commemorating the energy and potential of young individuals but also delving into strategies for a profound shift towards an environmentally sustainable and climate-friendly world. Highlighting youths as the leading agents of change, this theme underscores the crucial role that young people play in shaping the future of our planet.

Nigeria’s Youth Population: A Global Force in the Making

Nigerian youth

Nigeria stands as a nation with one of the largest youth populations globally, estimated at over 157 million, which constitutes around 70 percent of the total population. This demographic advantage presents a significant opportunity for the country’s development, both nationally and on the global stage. However, harnessing this potential has proven to be a complex challenge.

The Imperative of Green Skills

Nigerian youth

The ongoing global transition towards a greener world holds immense importance, not solely for addressing the pressing climate crisis but also for achieving the ambitious United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Green skills, defined as “knowledge, abilities, values, and attitudes needed to live in, develop and support a sustainable and resource-efficient society,” by the global community, lie at the heart of this transition. These skills are essential for the sustainable development of nations and the holistic well-being of their citizens.

The Struggle of Nigerian Youths

Nigerian youth

Regrettably, despite their enormous potential, Nigerian youths face various challenges that hinder their active participation in driving sustainable development. The deficiency of essential green, IT, and entrepreneurial skills required in today’s knowledge-driven world is a significant obstacle. Data from 2020 shows that only 68 percent of Nigerian youths had attained secondary school education, while a mere 17 percent pursued post-secondary education.

Youth Unemployment: A Growing Concern

Nigerian youth

One of the most pressing issues faced by Nigerian youths is unemployment. With a staggering 53 percent of young individuals currently unemployed, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, the need for urgent intervention is evident. This situation is further exacerbated by the fact that Nigeria ranks second globally in terms of youth unemployment, with only South Africa having a higher percentage.

The Nexus of Youth and National Development

Nigerian youth

Experts consistently emphasize the interconnection between a country’s vibrant youth population and its overall national development. Protecting and investing in young people is crucial for building human capital, nurturing potential, and driving long-term economic growth. Failing to do so not only hampers individual progress but also stifles a nation’s ability to thrive on the global stage.

Education and Skills: A Crucial Deficiency

Nigerian youth

A concerning aspect of Nigerian youth development is the lack of necessary skills and knowledge. The country’s education system has faced challenges, leaving many young individuals ill-prepared to thrive in today’s rapidly evolving world. Insufficient intellectual skills stemming from a struggling public education system have led to issues like examination malpractices, manipulation of results, and a reliance on dubious shortcuts to tertiary education.

A Call for Holistic Development

Nigerian youth

To secure Nigeria’s place in the global landscape and ensure a brighter future for its youth, a holistic approach is imperative. A strategic plan that addresses not only educational deficiencies but also empowers young individuals with the skills required for sustainable growth is essential. Green skills, IT proficiency, and entrepreneurial acumen must become a central focus in the transformation of the nation’s youth.

Addressing Societal Challenges

Nigerian youth

In addition to education and skills, Nigerian youths face various societal challenges that hinder their progress. Instances of police brutality and harassment have sparked outrage and led to movements such as #EndSARS, which highlight the deep-rooted issues plaguing the country’s young generation. Beyond this, issues like drug abuse, sexual violence, and the lack of moral values have further contributed to a complex crisis.

Learning from Global Models

Nigerian youth

To overcome these challenges, Nigeria can draw inspiration from successful global models. Countries like China, Germany, and Sweden have demonstrated effective approaches to youth development. From vocational training to education-reform policies, these nations prioritize the holistic growth of their youth populations. Creating spaces for youths to participate in decision-making processes is also crucial for their empowerment.

The Way Forward

Nigerian youth

Nigeria stands at a pivotal juncture, where the empowerment of its youth population can redefine its future trajectory. With a burgeoning population of young individuals, the nation has a unique opportunity to drive sustainable growth, innovation, and prosperity. By investing in green skills, IT proficiency, and entrepreneurial acumen, Nigeria can harness the potential of its youth to usher in a brighter, more sustainable future.

Empowering Nigerian Youths: A Collective Responsibility

Nigerian youth

The task of empowering Nigerian youths is not solely the responsibility of the government; it requires a collective effort. State and local governments must prioritize education and vocational training, ensuring that young individuals are equipped with the skills demanded by a modern, sustainable world. Parents and guardians play a crucial role in instilling moral values and encouraging academic integrity.

Conclusion

Nigerian youth

The theme of this year’s International Youth Day, “Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World,” resonates deeply in the context of Nigeria’s challenges and opportunities. By investing in the development of its youth population, Nigeria can position itself as a global leader in sustainable growth, innovation, and positive change. The journey towards a brighter future requires the concerted efforts of government, institutions, families, and communities.

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