By: Pa Modou Njie
In a heart-wrenching incident, over 20 youths from Bakau tragically lost their lives in a perilous sea journey in pursuit of a better life in Europe. This devastating event underscores the urgent need for the Gambian government to invest in quality education, particularly in the field of science and technology, as a vital step towards addressing the high rate of irregular migration among our youth.
For years, Gambian youth have been deprived of quality education and skills training opportunities. Limited access to these resources has left many with bleak economic prospects and a sense of hopelessness, driving them to seek opportunities abroad through irregular migration. It’s a vicious cycle that must be broken.
The Gambian National Development Plan recognizes the role of technology as a catalyst for progress. By prioritizing technology and digital skills, we can transform our youth from job seekers to a skilled workforce. Quality education in science and technology equips young people with the knowledge and skills needed to participate in the global digital economy. This shift is crucial for the development of our nation and the creation of employment opportunities for our youth.
In today’s digital age, technology plays a pivotal role in almost every sector of the economy, from agriculture to healthcare, and from finance to education. By investing in technology education, we prepare our youth to lead in these fields, ensuring that they are not only employable but also entrepreneurial. This, in turn, reduces the unemployment rate and contributes to the growth of our economy.
The urgency of this matter cannot be overstated. Every day, more Gambian youth consider embarking on dangerous irregular migration journeys due to the lack of local opportunities. To halt this devastating trend, the government must prioritize quality education in science and technology and allocate more resources to this crucial area. We cannot afford to lose more promising young lives to treacherous journeys overseas.
The government must take immediate action by:
* Allocating a significant portion of the budget to the development and enhancement of technology education programs.
* Collaborating with private sector partners to create apprenticeships, internships, and mentorship programs in technology fields.
* Establishing technology hubs and incubators that provide a conducive environment for innovation and entrepreneurship.
* Ensuring that technology education is accessible to all, including those in rural areas, by investing in infrastructure and digital literacy programs.
Investing in quality education and technology is an investment in the future of The Gambia. It is a step towards breaking the cycle of irregular migration and providing our youth with the tools they need to succeed at home. The time to act is now, and we implore the government to make this a top priority in the interest of our nation’s future.
Pa Modou Njie
ICT for Development Enthusiast