Botswana has believed the key to a bright future is to invest in the minds of the future leaders of the country, providing free/subsidised education to its citizens at all levels. Where it has seemed to a have fallen short is proactively showing the way or assisting those who receive the qualifications, the potential to be reaped within the country. The National Internship Programme, wonderful initiative, but remains back logged because the number of jobs created or available, cannot meet the immense numbers of graduates churned out both in local and foreign institutions.

This situation has forced the current Government, to head back to an "old party trick" which had been removed over fifteen years ago now. Tirelo Sechaba which many of your older siblings and relatives may have served was a 1year mandatory service to the nation in the forms of teaching/nursing/medical/social work, performed the year after completing you Form 5 at the time. This time round, according to the Minister Of Youth, Sport and Culture, Shaw Kgathi, The Botswana National Service Programme, has been opened to all unemployed holders of "ordinary primary level certificate, brigade or trade qualifications ranging between 20 to 30 years", and they will be given a monthly allowance of 500 Pula, with a further 200 to be put in an interest earning account for the participant.

Again, a solid idea for the government to curb the worrying rates of unemployment for the youth, but is it a long term solution? The major problem I have noticed for graduates is the requirement in job openings for experience. The question is where is the experience going to magical appear for a 24 old holder of BSC in mechanical engineering? Will his summer jobs behind the counter at Spar or Nandos count?

The government has invested in the education of the students, it should look at promoting internships in companies during the course of study, providing companies incentives to hire graduates and interns, promoting forms of entrepreneurship and engaging the institutions whether it be the educational, private or public to provide/assisting in teaching this to students, before they reach graduation.

The Department of Youth, Sports and Culture, is targeted at promoting our welfare, and many feel their portion of the budget was too low, however, it is not about how much, but rather how it is used. The Youth Development fund was put into place to promote entrepreneurship in the country; however are the Youth all aware of how to access it and or even what to do once they receive it? It is once again a great initiative with weak management and support.

Maybe we need to put it on our own shoulders now and stop looking for hand outs from the government because to be honest they have given us a lot. It might be time we helped them out as we are educated now...




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