Attempts to introduce post secondary school training for the youth at the National Youth Service (NYS) have kicked off following the introduction of a motion that will also see establishment of various National Youth Service outlets to facilitate the recruitment of form four graduates. The senate has proposed that such training be compulsory for all persons after the completion of high school education.
The Senate however required the National Youth Service Centers to be upgraded before the compulsory training kicks off.
The proposed training is intended to keep the youth occupied and assist them as they transition to further studies. The initiative hopes to address unemployment among the youth which has majorly occasioned insecurity and moral decadence as argued by the Senators.
The National Youth Service system, which was started in 1964 targets the unemployed, unmarried young people between the ages of 18-22. The scheme aims to increase young people's chances of getting employed by providing them with technical training and experience in projects such as building dams, roads, canals and other infrastructure. The NYS also acts as a reserve force for the Kenya Armed Forces and is deployed to provide assistance during national disasters such as fires, floods and terrorist attacks. The participants also engage in agricultural development, managing farms throughout the country that serve as models for surrounding farmers to learn the newest and most efficient farming practices. As currently structured, NYS takes in about 3,500 young men and women each year and has an average of 10,000 active youth participants at any one time. While engaging in national service projects, NYS members can also receive diplomas and certificates in a number of areas, ranging from one year certificates in auto mechanics to a three-year diploma in public accounting and electrical or mechanical engineering.1
The youth play an active role in nation building. Therefore, proper mechanisms need to be instituted to ensure that Article 55 of the Constitution is realized. The article provides that... "the State shall take measures, including affirmative programs, to ensure that the youth access relevant education and training; have opportunities and participate in political, social, economic and other spheres of life, access employment and are protected from harmful cultural practices."
Apart from addressing unemployment, the program will have many benefits for the youth. It will supplement the 8-4-4 education system in Kenya which mainly relies on providing academic curriculum. Students who leave high school at a very tender age will undergo comprehensive training that will enable them engage in economic development, and ensure young people have the opportunity and responsibility of participating in decisions that affect their lives. This is especially important as young people in Kenya are responsible for contributing to social and economic development.
To achieve the intended plans, the Government should aim at expanding the mandates of the NYS so as to accommodate our Nation's Development Goals. It should be more pro-active and responsive to our country's needs and recognize as well as nurture talent among the youth. This will help in the attainment of economic and social rights.