It is well-known that unemployment, especially that of the youth, is a problem in many countries. The Gambia, like many other countries, is battling this challenge as well. The problem of unemployment is a contributing factor to the menace of irregular migration. This has cost – and continues to cost – the country many lives. It has been observed that the lack of employment is amplified by the lack of a relevant and responsive education system. For decades now the education system has focused on the theoretical aspect more than it has on the acquisition of skills.
The challenge has however now come home such that there is awareness of the problem and government is making efforts to address the situation. The Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology has embarked on a series of projects to build and/or renovate technical schools in order to provide skills training for the young people of the country. This is in line with the view that the focus should now be on what is referred to as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). With a shift in focus like this, the education system will soon catch up and fill the gap that exists in terms of skills acquisition in relation to the needs of the people of the country.
This could not have come at a better time as the country is truly in need of a skilled workforce. The President, Adama Barrow, was at the President’s Award Scheme recently. This will go a long way in strengthening efforts to give skills to young people and that is exactly what the country needs at the moment. This is something that is required for there to be national development. The number of young people who are unemployed has to go down so as to realize some progress. This is why it is essential to do everything possible to give skills and create opportunities for the young people so that they can stay home and work for the progress of the country. That is one of the best ways to fight against irregular migration!