Government says the structure of education curricula is not employment creation friendly in most Southern African countries.
Labour and Social Security Minister Joyce Nonde – Simukoko says this is because education systems in most countries in the region were designed to equip learners with skills to enable them get employed but neglected the inherent skills or talents that could sustain anyone.
She said although most countries were emphasizing on education, they overlooked the need to emphasize on the type of education that was relevant to help increase employment opportunities.
The minister said most countries including Zambia lacked vocational training institutions which were key to skills development.
“In life, it is all about the skills that we offer.
“ We all have talents which should be harnessed for us to succeed in life and it has shown talent-oriented jobs are usually successful,’ Mrs. Simukoko said.
She bemoaned the demise of vocational training institutions in Zambia and the privatization of state owned enterprises saying these were some of the other major contributors to the high unemployment levels the country was grappling with.
Zambia consequently found herself with a huge population of its citizens in the informal sector who lacked well-nurtured skills or talents to effectively engage in their trade, Mrs. Simukoko said.
The minister was speaking yesterday during a panel discussion at the Jobs for Youths in Africa (JFYA) regional ministerial conference organized by the African Development Bank Group held at Sheraton Hotel in Pretoria, South Africa.
She was speaking on the topic entitled: ‘What skills do we need for the Southern African labour market.’
Mrs. Simukoko said the Zambian government was now working to reorganize the informal sector so as to enhance its role on the economic development scene.
She said 80 percent of the working population in Zambia was in the informal sector which meant that the group was not captured in the tax net.
“Only 20 per cent of Zambia’s working population pays tax. This is what is contributing to the running of the economy. If we had all those in the informal sector paying tax, we could have had enough resources to even put up facilities such as vocational colleges to train them.”
“It will be easier for government of even financial institutions such as banks to find and work with them on projects once they are properly organized,” she said.
The minister cited the taxi and bus transportation business and small scale farmers as some of the informal sector areas where reorganization had already started.
She said her ministry, the ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, the ministry of Youth Sport and Child Development were involved in the exercise.
And COMESA Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya said it would be a form of smart partnership for governments to consider whether they should tax private organisations that had developed and implemented programmes that helped with employment creation.
Mr. Ngwenya said AfDB realized that youth unemployment and under employment were fundamental challenges around the globe, and that 70 per cent of Africans were under 30 years hence 50 per cent of the World’s youth will be African in the next three decades.
He said in response to this crisis, AfDB has adopted a JFYA Strategy for the period of 2016-2025 during which plans would be implemented.
Mr. Ngwenya stated that similar regional ministerial conferences have been held in north, west, east and central Africa.
This is according to a press statement issued to ZANIS by Zambian High Commission in South Africa Press Secretary, Nicky Shabolyo.