Drastic and proactive measures must be taken to address the worrying issue of our school drop outs each year.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Opposition Group reminded the government that it has become common that every year the country find many of its students become victims to the issue of limited space in our formal education system.
The recent revelations that in 2015, only 23% of form six enrollments managed to get placements for 2016 to do their form seven is worrying, the Opposition said in the statement.
“The ugly reality of our current bottle neck education system is once again being felt and there is an urgent need for the government to take drastic and proactive measures to address the issue of our school drop outs,” it said.
The Opposition said whilst it understands that a student’s development is a matter of individual capability, the government is also duty bound to assist these young people whom the formal education system has singled them out.
“Our failure to address this problem will put this country in an awkward position in terms of controlling social issues associated with increasing number of unemployed youths. Indeed, the government must address what could now be best described as a ticking time bomb,” it said.
As such, the Parliamentary Opposition strongly recommended that the government must look seriously into increasing the capacity and support the vocational centers in the country to cater for the endless growing number of school dropouts.
“The Opposition understands churches have taken the lead in vocational trainings and as such it is only right that the government support the churches to help them provide more efficient trainings and develop our vocational centers to help our young people,” it said.
On the other hand, the Opposition Group said while it noted that the government has allocated $27 million for national education infrastructure, the figure does not specify what proportion has been expended on Rural Training Centre’s (RTC).
Moreover, the statement adds no particular RTCs have been identified for government assistance.
“We call on the government to allocate adequate resources to enhance the capacity and quality of the RTCs. The Opposition Office strongly urged the government to boost the infrastructures of RTCs nationwide and also engage in reviewing its current teaching curriculum,” the Opposition statement said.
It adds the Parliamentary Opposition Group is also of the view that the current RTCs’ curriculum needs to be reviewed in light of the changes in the skilled labor market.
Therefore, it says the government needs to establish and formalize accreditation for RTC students to continue developing their skills in overseas institutions, such as allocating scholarships for students to attend further trainings in the prestigious Australia- Pacific Technical College (APTC).
“The benefits of attaining APTC accredited courses are numerous, one of which it qualifies a person to work in any regional countries including Australia or New Zealand. Better still, those with such qualification earned better returns to the benefit of their families and the country as whole,” it said.
Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Opposition also calls on the government to provide access for our young people to engage in labor mobility schemes.
“Tapping into unskilled labor opportunities overseas through our bilateral relationships and subsidize the costs of travelling for our young people to go out there and be productive is one alternative the government must take on-board,” it said.
“This issue with our ever increasing school dropouts and the number of unemployment youths is best described as a ticking time bomb that needs to be seriously addressed now and the Opposition is more than willing to assist the Government in any way to help address this issue,” it said.