Wednesday, October 12, 2016

POST O LEVEL – Empowerment program for our Youth - need of the hour!

There is a severe crisis facing the majority of our youth, namely, the seamless choices available, with NO program designed to assist them in choosing the way forward, taking into account their innate talents and desires. The Govt. answer to this, is INSIST that ALL students attend school through to A levels, or 13 formal years of Education. They have therefore pronounced that even if the student fails his O levels, they should proceed with continuing education in the A level class.

I propose an eight week program, that is VOLUNTARY to begin with, to select 80,000 from the 450,000 who will sit their O level exams in December 2016 as a pilot project to begin on January 1st 2017 ending by 28th February 2017, and a valuable certificate of completion at the end of it, that will confer an element of maturity on this student. They of course then join their normal school year as before to A levels. In any case there is a hiatus period that is too long between sitting the exams and enrolling at A levels!

A world record, as a percentage of population will sit their O levels in December 2016. Parents of whom who are possibly the least competent in our history in terms of parenting skills, that have spoilt and let loose the latest technology smart devices to them, without being able to intelligently guide their offspring in ways that will secure their future.

Those with available financial resources, will enroll their children in Computer, English, and similar advertised programs they see on TV, and the Newspapers, some costing in excess of Rs100,000 for a 45 day intensive in-house English speaking course, to quote an example. Others just wish they had the resources!

In reality, the knowledge these parents have of their children, and their capabilities is zero, as their relationship with their offspring is at a record low, as the generation gap with those born after January 1st 2001 is at its widest, especially in the area of communication, or lack of it.


For those whose children or whose parents are NOT empowered, so are unable to make decisive choices in the best interest of the Children, that a program – NAME TO BE SELECTED – modeled along the lines of ex- British PM, David Cameron’s National Citizen Service, which he set up 8 years ago as leader of the Opposition, which I believe will go a long way in addressing the needs of the 21st Century Youth, in order that they become, productive, compassionate and above all self-confident youth of tomorrow to compete in an increasingly Globalized World.

Please read the link below for the details of Cameron’s program, which due to its success is about to attain Royal Charter Status. It will obtain state support in addition to private sector sponsorship. Cameron by the way has just assumed the mantle of Chairman of it, a more contemporary answer to the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme that values leadership, which will continue to run in parallel.

This program’s structure may take different forms once the practicalities are ironed out, and as it is a pilot scheme, and needs immediate implementation, which requires the use of existing infrastructure to get started. The NYSC training centers around the Country, and the Cadet Corps Center in Randenigala are the places that could host the intensive, in-house residential part of this program.

In reality, the preferred route would be to have a complete one month residential program, however resources for immediate implementation are an issue, and a selection of as much as 80,000 from this crop of students will then not be possible.

The other 7 weeks of this Course, will be carried out in the Divisional Secretariat Area of which there are 350 dotted around the Island. They will use the existing resources of the various officers of the Divisional Secretariats, including the Youth Services, Women’s Services, Children’s Services, Agricultural Services, Welfare Services, Disaster Management Services, Employment Services, Health Services and other officers, to inform this youth of the resources available, and build a level of civic consciousness through this program. In truth these officers in the Divisional Secretariats are grossly overpaid and under employed and have time on their hands to include this program within their existing schedule. A case in point is their refusal to go on field visits, citing the lack of transport, and so are pasted to their desks every day or do not turn up for work! If you don't believe me just go to any of these offices and enquire as to the whereabouts of any of the aforesaid officers!

After knowledge, information, discussion and debate, of current issues, vacancies, and areas of excellence, it will give practical help in deciding on what is and is not important to their personal lives, so that they may be able to focus on what they wish to pursue after O levels. Currently they go into the next grade quite BLIND!

Opportunities today, after O levels are endless, you just have to pick up a newspaper to know that. We do not wish to see a blind leading the blind kind of situation which is about to be forced on us. (majority that is)

Even if this program results in a success rate of at least 50% of the intake of 80K who turn up after 100K sign up initially, who making more informed choices, in pursuing vocation or academic studies, using their unique skills to achieve their personal goals it will be counted as a success. We will now have 40,000 more goal oriented, industrious, and productive citizens than otherwise!

The downside is zero, and the initial intake is purely voluntary with a non-refundable Rs5,000 deposit upon signing up. Here it is to show that unless there is some kind of investment, the stakeholders HAVE NO intent of making full use of it, and in today's context this will permit ALL those who opt in with the deposit to be selected for the program in the pilot project, making sure that a proper data mining exercise can take place following the progress of this group over the years, as compared with the others who do NOT join.

Of course the privileged few who are already following a winning formula of life don't need to go on this, they are already ahead of the pack, it is the others who are left behind that we are targeting where there is nothing to lose and much to gain.


Anonymous said...

Funny you should say this as the Department of Wildlife have appointed people from Kurunegala into Parks as staff. They are frightened of the dark, frightened of wild elephants, and want to run back home mummy at the drop of a hat, as they have never lived out of home before! This program will at least make sure they don't accept jobs just for political reasons that they cannot simply perform in.

It is a two way process, as the Govt. should NOT appoint incompetents to Govt. jobs as they have to serve the public, and people just don't know their basics to do that. I think the politicians including all the fossils in parliament must be sent on this course first.

Anonymous said...

How do you match the 500,000+ vacancies in the Sri Lanka Economy, with these misguided expectations of our youth, who all want what is NOT available. Namely something for nothing, also known as Government jobs! Blame the damn politicians for this MYTH

This program MUST bridge this expectation gap. One example, THE GOVT MUST within 3 years remove all under 55s from driving three wheelers for hire. This is part of the aspirational conundrum that must be tackled head first.

We have people doing the wrong things that drag the economy, such as the three wheeler driver and the Govt. servant. Until we fix that we cannot grow. NO foreign investment is forthcoming because foreigners know there is a labor shortage in Sri Lanka, but our own Politicians seem to be blissfully unaware of it.

Anonymous said...

Nothing in life can be perfectly planned. The program MUST focus on career, vocation, interest, aptitude, financial means to pursue, funding sources, so that ALL "Able and Willing" students are never left out of pursuing their dreams, whatever they may be.

Those who are hell bent on following their dreams usually succeed. They may not amount to more than 10% of the group, but must be assisted by mentors and guidance schemes such as this.

THEY ARE THE FUTURE LEADERS IN THEIR CHOSEN FIELDS, not the people who join political parties at a young age. The latter are those who cannot do anything with their lives, and litter our politics where ever you look.