Government has been tasked to overhaul the education system to reflect the requirements of the labour market so as to curb the rising rate of youth unemployment.
Speaking during the 2nd Public Health Youth Symposium at Hotel Africana on Thursday, Lincoln Kayondo, the Placement Officer Uganda Manufacturers Association said that the dynamism of developing and emerging economies has rendered some competencies of the labour force obsolete and thus a large percentage of the population has been left out of the labour market.
“Government and policy makers should put more emphasis on the quality and relevance of education and also shift emphasis from the immediate benefit of filling a job vacancy to the benefits of training and placement decisions on individual’s employability,” Kayondo said.
Hope Nzeire, the Senior National Program Officer National Population Council said that for Uganda to maximize the demographic dividend, it should concurrently prioritize investments in family planning and female education to reduce fertility and the high child-dependency burden, reinforce industrial and export-oriented economic reforms to accelerate economic growth and job creation, enhance investments in education and health care to develop high-quality human capital and also reinforce governance, accountability and efficiency in the use of public resources.
“Government should invest a lot in programs and policies that reduce teenagepregnancies, delay and space births, prevent the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections among young people and also remove barriers to family planning and reproductive health information, this will bring down the fertility rate and reduce the number of dependents and thus enable our country to reap the benefits of the demographic dividend,” Nzeire said.
Douglas Nsibambi, an Independent Researcher with FHI 360 said that youth participation allows young people to shape sexual and reproductive health services to better answer to their demands; and sexuality education curricula to better answer to the questions and realities lived by young people in particular contexts.
“Keeping girls in school longer is an effective intervention to prevent teenage pregnancy. In the same way, creating conditions within the education system to ensure pregnant teenagers or adolescent mothers can continue their education, would be another intervention with a positive impact,” Nsibambi said.
Organized under the theme “Working Towards Sustainable Development: Harnessing the Demographic Dividend Through Investing in Uganda’s Youth”, the symposium brought together public health professionals, researchers, advocates and young people.
The symposium was organized by Public Health Ambassadors Uganda, a youth led NGO organization working on issues of sexual and reproductive health and HIV awareness using health promotion, youth empowerment, social entrepreneurship and ICT for Health.