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Advancing the Millenium Agenda Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Akwalla Johanness, Canada Apr 20, 2009
Culture , Human Rights , Peace & Conflict   Opinions
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This short article is to consider the implication of the youths in the United Nations’ scheme of what has been termed the “Millennium Development Goals.” Whatever the latter term may mean, I would begin with some definitions: on who is a youth; we have restricted the term to its chronological connotation. A youth is necessarily young: it is he who is in the period of his life when he is still learning towards the societal role he will play in the society of grown-ups. By the term “development” I allude to the acquisition of what it takes a given system to deliver what it is meant to deliver. The development of society would mean changes which a society undergoes in the sense of instruments and infrastructure it acquires as they are required to enable a society to effectively serve its raison d’être, namely, to enable a liveable life for its members and the possibility of societal regeneration. The term “liveable life for its members and the possibility of societal regeneration,” is a very elastic term. The characterisation of a life as liveable and the possibility of societal regeneration are a function of the part of the world one is considering at a given time.
From this premise I propose to consider the incidence of the education or training of the youth on the development of society as a whole – the implication of training that the youth acquire, in the development of society.
I think of the youth as some entity which has to undergo “transformation” to prepare it for some role in the processes out of which society meets its needs and for the very process of societal regeneration when, in time, the youth replace grown ups whose energy and resourcefulness have diminished.
The youth may be enjoined to be responsible and reasoned in any initiative they undertake. But responsibility in posture and being reasoned in initiative arise from teachings the youth acquired from their parents and the kind and quality of education their parents and the society could give them. The question I propose for consideration is that of the creation of a context for a liveable life.
The contribution of the youth’s development in the society would not be specific things the youth should do, specific enterprise of theirs. When the youth are considered in relation to development, it is in the sense that, being the sector from which society’s personnel in the professions and all walks of life are recruited, proper education and purpose-directed training – instruments of empowerment – for the youth are sure guarantors of development.

The context:
In the era of colonial rule, in schools colonialists taught the colonised how to count and read and write. This enabled them to communicate with their subjects and to manage them as labour in the exploitation of the natural resources of the territories under their control. Later, when it arose that the colonised would have to be given independence some day, the need to get more people to go to school and for more education and in various domains arose and was addressed.
In the natural posture of the colonised, whose concerns were primitive farming, food gathering and hunting in which offspring were valued as essential labour around and the girl child was a direct event of social structure when the group married its sons, involvement in colonial enterprise was a skewed activity and was quite senseless.
A first problem of the colonialists was thus that of getting the school accepted for what it served. In the interest of the colonial economy, they resorted to inducements of various sorts and in some cases, to force.
Several decades since political independence, in the 21st century, the development of the school among us (developing countries) is still an acute problem.

Presently there seem to be very many things in the education which we get from our schools but very few of these things relate to our common needs and the resources available in nature in the environment in which we live. The result is that we get so much education but do not have options of activity in which our education can be gainfully put. In this situation, faced with the exigency of living, the individual gets into a search for activity, trying his hand in one trade today, then in another on another day and on and on.
I think that this is a waste of resources and can be avoided. Assuming that the basic school where one learns how to count and the alphabet of the language in use is available for a great majority of third world nations, the content of secondary school education and the manner of its delivery can be re-examined to see in what manner it can be tempered to make them directly relevant in the contexts in which we live. This cannot be done in isolation: it necessarily will take a critical view of what we have in our economy at a given time, and the level of development of the later.

When an individual acquires learning but cannot get into some profitable activity because he did not learn how he could put his learning into practical use, or because there simply are no sectors in the existing economy in which he could put it into use, or again and increasingly because there are no existing mechanisms in terms of policies and schemes to assist him into some activity, he resorts to trying his hand in assorted trades, and for most of the time in things for which he has no education nor training, relying on his practical sense. The prospects of success in this approach are poor and non-success leads always to discouragement, movement towards the urban centre, various unnameable activities including sex for cash, homosexual prostitution (which most third world countries still need to recognise and sensitize their people of its advantage and disadvantages), crime for wealth, gambling, idleness and the consumption of “euphoriants” and such other things.

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Akwalla Johanness

I am a young development activist who believes that for youths to be successful, we need to come together and share ideas that are beneficial to the whole of humanity.
I strongly believe that for Africa to come out of the political hostage its finds itself, our leaders must stop to consider themselves as traditional rulers. We all know that traditional rulers rule for life, and power is passed on to their descendant. And I think that once our leaders stop to think of themselves as such and concentrate on development by investing into the education and basic health care and social services, then can we say we are on the right path to human development.
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