President Kenyatta: COVID-19 to Blame For Delayed Global Youth Agenda on Education, Training, and Employment
The Global COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily derailed the global agenda on ensuring young people of the age of between 10 and 24 years get educated, trained, and employed by the year 2030, His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.
President Uhuru said that on a global basis, schools having more than 168 million have been closed for almost a whole year due to lockdowns imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“Young people have lost jobs and livelihoods and others have been exposed to personal risks such as teenage pregnancy and alcohol and drug abuse,” said President Uhuru.
President Uhuru spoke on Friday evening while attending a Generation Unlimited (GenU) global leadership council meeting that was held on a virtual platform and with Prime Minister Alexander De Croo of Belgium, former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and President Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana.
President Masisi and PM De Croo are the new members of the GenU’s leadership council where President Kenyatta is already a member and a strong voice for the youth agenda.
The GenU is a partnership whose purpose is to bring together the youth, governments, multilateral organizations, the private sector, and civil society to advance sustainable Development goals and the United Nation’s Youth 2030 Strategy.
Despite the derailment, President Uhuru noted that the pandemic has boosted the young peoples’ innovativeness and made the GenU’s vision even more relevant.
President Kenyatta cited the example of Mr. Calvin Shikuku Odhiambo, a 2020 GenU Youth challenge winner from Kenya, saying that young people have shown eagerness and resilience in seeking solutions.
“Odhiambo represents a generation of talented innovators in Kenya, which includes a group of 16 university students who designed locally made ventilators and were recognized as UN Persons of the Year 2020,” said President Kenyatta.
The President stressed the essence of giving the youth a chance, saying that they are crucial to recovery, resilience, and a sustainable future in line with GenU’s four workstreams of scaling up online, connectivity to schools and remote learning platforms, encouraging entrepreneurship skills and supporting young people as change-makers.
“The four workstreams speak directly to actions we need to take to support the world’s 1.8 billion young people recover and rebuild post-Covid; and in the longer term, equip them to become productive workers and global citizens,” said President Kenyatta.
The President felt satisfied that GenU’s broad-based partnership platform has made it possible to bring together public, private, and youth partners to strengthen the coordination and impact of the many youth initiatives in Kenya.
On the same, President Uhuru noted that his administration’s partnership with Unicef ITU’s Giga initiative is helping to connect schools to the internet, a project that has delivered one million computer devices to schools in Kenya.
“But we now need to exponentially expand connectivity to reach each and every child and ensure effective learning through digital platforms. I invite partners to join us on this expansion,” said President Uhuru.
President Uhuru also said that the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), a platform through which Kenya alongside the UK seeks to raise 5 billion USD for helping children all over the world.
“The campaign will culminate in a GPE Financing Summit to be held in the United Kingdom on July 28 to 29.
“I invite you to join us at the Summit and harness the GenU platform to mobilize resources to help countries re-imagine and re-build education systems for a more resilient world,” said President Kenyatta.
President Masisi on his part welcomed the addition of the GenU’s leadership council pledging to leverage his skills and networks to promote the interests of young people all over the world.
Prime Minister De Croo said that COVID-19 worsened global inequalities and urged the private sector to assist governments in investing more in education to enable the youth to access quality jobs and develop entrepreneurial qualities.
Head of Public Service Dr. Joseph Kinyua and ICT CS Joe Mucheru were among those who joined His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta at the virtual meeting.