African Youth Report 2011: Addressing the youth education and employment nexus in the new global economy African Youth Report 2009: Expanding opportunities for and with Young people in Africa
by: Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
The majority of Africa?s population is below the age of 30 years. This poses peculiar challenges, including the nature and level of education provision for young people and their quality employment within an increasingly complex and rapidly changing global environment. As we revitalize and promote regional integration, we need to ensure that young people are equipped with social and market-related skills which will enable them to be well integrated young adults as well as being competitive at the national, subregional and global levels.
Current efforts have gone into building young Africans? knowledge and skills through the provision of basic levels of education and vocational training. However, in the new global economy, young people need to acquire more than just basic education, and curricula should be influenced by the current rate of globalization and regional integration. Investing in education and skills development for young people should therefore go beyond increasing basic literacy rates to assure dynamic, multifaceted knowledge-building at higher and tertiary levels. This will go a long way in preparing young people for the evolving labour market. Although there has been a considerable increase in primary school enrolment, with the majority of African countries on course to achieving the targets of universal primary education and gender parity in education, access to post-primary schooling is still a challenge for most young people in Africa.
Overall participation in tertiary education is low, and very few young people from vulnerable groups such as girls, persons with disabilities, young persons living in rural, remote and marginalized areas, young people caught up in conflict situations and orphans have the opportunity to access higher education because of limited resources to meet education costs, amongst other challenges. Cultural beliefs and practices in many instances still have an impact on female participation in education, and many national policies, plans and programmes do not address the multidimensional nature of gender inequalities in education and their implications for girls? right to education.