Tuesday, March 10, 2015

COULD TECHNOLOGY HOLD ANSWERS FOR YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT?


"At every level, there is work to be done to support the teaching of computer science, both in school and out of school… We are in an age of austerity. No one can expect government and schools to do this all on their own. Business not only needs to contribute, but is "very keen" to do so, he adds. "There's a lot of skepticism about the motivations behind [the private sector] doing it. But, in many respects, we're helping young people, we're helping the economy, and we're helping ourselves as well."

Youth unemployment, the song that goes beyond boundaries, very painful to those that hear its lyrics and echoes of its beats everyday. Shockingly,  the pain of youth unemployment is shared between the victims and their parents, who not only remember their hard earned money they injected into educating their off-springs but calmly feel the pain of their foregone.
 Could technology hold answers for Youth Unemployment? In my own view I certainly think Yes and here is why I take this direction.

Digitally literacy is a modern day must-have
The link between digital technology and employability is one that the world's biggest tech companies instinctively understand and actively promote. Digital literacy is definitely a 21st-century skill. That means that, in order to be able to succeed in the modern world, you need to have those skills. It's pretty much a given. With that in mind, we also need to note that functional ability in digital technologies is not the be all and end all. Better to see it as a stepping stone.
 
 Knowing how to use Excel is great, but, in isolation, it's a ticket to a data-entry job and little else. The real breakthrough comes when young people can combine digital nous with the "soft skills" that modern employers are looking for – problem-solving, inquisitive thinking, collaborative problem-solving, and the like. For the youths to be brought up to speed, education institutions need to partner with large experienced technology companies to learn how to tackle society problems, how to present them, how to develop  solutions and how to market those solutions as well.
 I must applaud Google and Microsoft  for this effort in Uganda and East Africa as a region. They have carried out numerous training programs to empower the youth to develop applications that not only solve society oriented problems but also creates employment for them.
 
However the social impact of such project-based digital training is "disproportionately advantageous" in the developing world. Not only is digital technology more limited in such markets,  but learning methods are more likely to be rote-based, too. Just being able to access information can hugely increase a young person's life chances of creativity and innovativeness which can result into employment. Unlike in developed countries where they have multiple methods for accessing information, from well equipped education institutions to TV, people in the developing world often lack the basic infrastructure to access information, either because of physical restrictions or financial ones.
 
Opportunities
When it comes to technological advancement, It's not just developing-world youth who stand to benefit. Digital literacy promises to improve young women's employment opportunities, too because traditionally, the tech industry used to be "majority male dominated. The employment opportunities for the young people increase dramatically through the acquisition of even the most basic digital skills. The difference between job and no job, for example, can be as simple as learning how to fill in an online application and mailing it off. With many whole sale stores yarning to turn their services online most likely the youth with digital skills have a chance to land employment opportunities.
 
At every level, there is work to be done to support the teaching of computer science, both in school and out of school… We are in an age of austerity. No one can expect government and schools to do this all on their own. Business not only needs to contribute, but is "very keen" to do so, he adds. "There's a lot of skepticism about the motivations behind [the private sector] doing it. But, in many respects, we're helping young people, we're helping the economy, and we're helping ourselves as well.
 
By Mwebya Fred
mwbyfred@gmail.com
on twitter @Ugaman01
+256750061250.
 
 

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