, GILGIL, Kenya, Feb 12 – The Government will spare no effort in expanding opportunities for guaranteeing gainful employment for the country’s youth, President Mwai Kibaki said on Friday.
President Kibaki said his Government recognised that the long term solution to unemployment in the country lies in equipping the youth with modern, market-driven technical and vocational skills.
He said the Government was implementing elaborate measures to strengthen youth polytechnics across the country besides the National Youth Service to meet training needs for the Kenyan youth and in line with the Vision 2030.
“Currently, we are undertaking a programme of modernising and improving infrastructure development in youth polytechnics in the country,” President Kibaki said.
The President was speaking at the National Youth Service College, Gilgil where he presided over the passing out parade of 5,192 recruits.
The Head of State pointed out that the Government had also developed and implemented a new curriculum for youth polytechnics besides building the capacity of youth polytechnic instructors by sponsoring them to acquire higher technical skills.
In addition, President Kibaki said the Government has continued to subsidize tuition in youth polytechnics to the tune of Sh15,000 per student per annum.
“In order for us to succeed, I call upon the youth to take advantage of the education and training opportunities being made available by the Government,” President Kibaki said.
The President also expressed satisfaction that following his directive that NYS servicemen and women be given priority during recruitment in the disciplined services and other Government departments, a total of 9,050 National Youth Service graduates have so far been recruited into the Administration Police and the Armed Forces.
Reaffirming the Government’s commitment in the development and empowerment of the youth, the President said he believed in the great potential that lies within the youth and will continue to facilitate deployment of more resources towards the realisation of that potential.
In this regard, President Kibaki reiterated his Government’s determination to ensuring that funds earmarked for youth development, and all public resources in general, are spent transparently for the intended purposes.
He called on the relevant arms of Government to step up surveillance to ensure public funds are prudently and accountably spent and to make sure those found misappropriating funds are punished in accordance with the law.
President Kibaki also appealed to all Kenyans to continue being vigilant in order to succeed in fighting corruption in the country.
The President congratulated the 5,192 graduands for their hard work, high sense of discipline and endurance they demonstrated during their training, noting that 32 percent of them were drawn from orphaned and disadvantaged backgrounds.
He particularly commended the National Youth Service for its continued efforts to offer the less privileged members of society an opportunity to change their circumstances and secure a better future for themselves and their families.
The President also advised the NYS graduands to emulate their predecessors who have continued to demonstrate a great sense of patriotism through provision of up to an average of 18 months of voluntary and unpaid nation building service on completion of their initial basic training.
“Wherever you will be deployed to render your national service, you should bear in mind that your work is valuable to our country. Indeed, this is one way for you to demonstrate your patriotism to your motherland,” President Kibaki said.
Recalling that he commissioned a modern and state of the art equipment worth Sh4.3 billion two weeks ago, President Kibaki expressed confidence that the NYS is now capable of operating three fully fledged and independent units to handle any construction project in the country.
Said the President: “With the new equipment, the National Youth Service will be able to enhance its participation in training and national development programmes, such as construction of roads, airstrips, water pans, dams and canals in different parts of the country.”
The President said he was also happy to note that the National Youth Service is currently engaged in agricultural activities in the expansive Bura and Hola Irrigation Schemes under the National Economic Stimulus Programme in an effort aimed at ensuring food security in the country.
During the occasion President Kibaki also presented awards to the outstanding divisions, companies and recruits in various categories.
Addressing the same forum the Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Prof. Helen Sambili affirmed there was need to expand the existing facilities in the National Youth Service in order to accommodate and benefit more Kenyan youths in acquiring vocational skills.
Prof Sambili noted that many Kenyan youths lacked vital skills that would enable them earn decent livelihoods adding that only 0.25 percent of Kenya’s total youths benefited from the NYS programmes.
She asserted that NYS was committed to producing youths who are role models in the society through rigorous training and character formation as well as channelling their energies positively towards accelerated economic development in the country.