1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The Nigerian youth have been denied opportunities to develop in diverse realms of human endeavours. Ineptitude, mediocrity and intellectual dearth have become the three hallmarks of Nigerian Youth. In a national survey jointly sponsored by the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Education Trust Fund (ETF) in 2004, 61% of 20 organization rated Nigerian science graduates poor in skulls needed in the work environment such as a literacy, oral communication information technology, entrepreneurship, analytical, problem-solving and decision making (Okafor, 2011). Although Sections 17 and 18 of the constitution state that the government shall provide free and compulsory education in order to promote science and technology and eradicate literacy (such that) opportunity for securing adequate means of livelihood as well as adequate opportunity to secure suitable employment is ensured (CFRN, 1999), the same constitution made it unenforceable by virtue of Section (6)(6)(c ).
National Youth Policy is full of platitudes and little has been done to bring it into full implementation despite several review of the policy since its formulation in 1981. Admittedly, the federal Government noted that policy attempts hardly provided a concrete framework for addressing the heightened problems confronting the youth in the 1990’s. this was partly because the implementation mechanisms of the policy were weak and ineffective (SNYPD, 2009).
Youth are the future of every society as their energy and skills contribute to the development of any society. However, perceptions on who really is a youth vary among major development stakeholders such as the government, international organizations, and individuals.
The term youth generally implies a period of life between childhood and adulthood. In most countries, Adulthood is officially attained at the age of twenty-one. This may however, vary from one society to another particularly in some African settings and cultures. The concepts of youth employment and empowerment are rapidly gaining importance in the developmental agenda of various governments, regional entities and international development organizations with the World Bank Youth Report (2005) stating that governments, donor agencies, and civil societies must be guided by a comprehensive national perspective in their efforts aimed at tackling poverty among young people.
Nigeria, like most developing countries in the world is faced with myriad of problems such as poverty, terrorism, political instability and most importantly unemployment. In recent years, increased unemployment rate has affected many young school leavers who fall within the working age but have been denied job opportunities. Graduate unemployment in the words of Dabalen et al (2000), accounted for about 32% of the unemployed labor force between 1992 and 1997. This has compelled the Nigerian government as far back as the 1960s to start implementing programmes aimed at tackling the unemployment situation in the country. Providing employment was made one of the cardinal objectives of the first developmental plan; an objective aimed at not just creating employment but to also to train people in skills that will meet the challenges of an ever dynamic economy. The above was indeed the catalyst for the establishment of a number of employment programmes such as the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Family Economic and Advancement Programme (FEAP), Poverty Alleviation Programme (PAP), National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP), National Economic Empowerment and Development Scheme (NEEDS) and many other similar programmes funded by various stakeholders like state governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and international organizations like the World Bank and the United Nations.
Unemployment is one the developmental problems facing every developing economy in the 21st century. Agu (2008) pointed out that there has been an exponential increase in youth unemployment in the country. In his words, youth unemployment in the country has caused serious problems that past and successive administrations have not been able to find a lasting solution. Although successive governments in Nigeria since independence have implemented several programmes to address the problem of youth unemployment and poverty, the assessment of the various contributions of such programmes remains scanty compared to the huge amount of resources committed to them (Egware, 1997). In the words of Yakubu (2010), youth employment and poverty alleviation programmes implemented in the last few decades have failed to confront the multidimensionality of poverty as most of these programmes were unable to respond to the exact needs of the poor. Programmes such as the NDE, FEAP, Better Life Programme, NAPEP, NEEDS have all been affected by common problems; such as: inadequate funding, project duplication, gross inefficiency, poor coordination of programmes, corruption, lack of transparency and accountability (Obadan, 2001).
At the state level, the establishment of the Oyo State Youth Development centre was one of the programmes implemented to tackle the unemployment situation in the state. The establishment of the centre followed the guidelines of the National Youth Policy that was established in 1968 with the objective of training out-of-school youth graduates who are unemployed in various vocational trades such as carpentry, fashion designing, hair dressing, shoe-making etc, thereby enabling them inculcate an entrepreneurial culture that would enable them to be self-dependent. Wale-Saka (2005) in his evaluation of the Oyo State Youth Development Centre noted that, several problems militated against the success of the scheme. He is of the opinion that, the skill acquisition scheme faced challenges such as problems of inadequate training materials, dearth of funding, poor remuneration of tutors, insufficient number of tutors etc, all of which contributed to its failure.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Although, much has been written on the evolution of youth empowerment in Nigeria (especially on youths in the Niger Delta), little is known concerning youth empowerment in Oyo State visa- vis Taraba State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy. It is on the basis of the above that this research seeks to fill the vacuum which is yet to receive the attention of scholars in the field of youth empowerment studies This obvious critical skill gaps inhibits the development of youths and the entire development of the nation More than half of the Nigerian populations are under the age of 30 according to the National Population Commission (2001
Therefore it can be asserted that the economy of Nigerian is a youth economy. Expectedly, today’s youth will become in a short decade tomorrow’s parents. Leader, labour force and armies. However, the Nigerian youths are said to be confronted with poverty, unemployment, urbanization, lack of capacity and skills needed to move the economy forward Poverty which is a force for HIV/AIDS is very common, This is because the youth face unemployment and lack of necessary productive skills to keep body and soul together This reality leaves them without any meaningful means of sustainable livelihood. To make ends meet, they simply inuulge m prostituion both malc and lemale),
Wale-Saka (2005) in his evaluation of the ovo State Youth Development Centre noted that several problems militated against the success of the scheme He is of the opinion that, the skill acquisition scheme faced challenges such as problems of inadequate training materials, dearth of funding, poor remuneration of tutors, insufficient number of tutors etc, all of which contributed to failure in light of this, therefore, this study was aimed at how youth empowerment could
be enhanced through various skill acquisition programme that youth unemployment can be eliminated
1.3 Research Question
The following questions have been formulated to guide conducts of this study
1. Have the youth employment programmes implemented in the State improved the skills and economic well being of youths in the date?
2. Are the policies of the various employment programmes in the state well formulated and do they give room for innovations in order to achieve better results?
3. To what extent can the operation, problems and prospect of youth employment programmes in Oyo State be executed?
4. What recommendation can be made on how the employment programmes implemented in the State can be made more effective addressing youth unemployment?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of this research are:
1. To examine the youth employment programmes in the State and how to
2. Implemented improve the skills and economic well being of youths in the state.
3. To determine the policies of the various employment programmes in the State and how well formulated, do they give room for innovations in order to achieve better results.
4. To assess the operation, problems and prospects of youth employment programmes in Oyo State
5. To make recommendations on how the employment programmes implemented in the State can be made more effective in addressing youth unemployment
1.5 Scope of the Study
This research work will be descriptively and empirically confined to the study on skill acquisition programmes and youth empowerment in Ibadan Nigeria.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The significant of this research work are enormous First, the work addresses one of the key issues of contemporary Nigeria, it touches areas that affect the conduct of democratic principles in Nigerian polity which is the National Economic Empowerment and Development strategy (NEEDS), hence, the study is of benefit to students of international relations, politics, development studies, history. and even those in the social sciences. Secondly, this study will contribute to the growing body of knowledge in youth empowerment as it looks at the concept from a different angle Thirdly, this study will aid other researchers who might want to carry out research in related areas,
1.8 Definition of Terms
Youth: Youth is the time of life between childhood and adulthood (maturity). “Youth are also regarded as those persons between the ages 15 and 24 years.
Empowerment: Empowerment refers to increasing the political social, pr economic spiritual strength of individuals and communities. It often involves the empowered developing confidence in their own capacities,
Youth Empowerment: Youth empowerment is an attitudinal, structural, and cultural process whereby young people gain the ability, authority, and agency to make decisions and implement change in their own lives.
Non-Governmental Organizations: A non-govemmental organization (NGO)
is a legally constituted organization created by natural or legal persons that operates independently from any government and a term usually used by governments to refer to entities that have no government
National Economic Empowerment and Development strategy (NEEDs): revolves around the idea of empowerment across a broad spectrum of the Nigerian people. NEEDs empowers through job creation, opportunities for employment and wealth creation and promoting private enterprise
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