Pope Benedict XV1 has appealed to governments to offer education that will prepare young people to deal with the real world and help them to positively contribute to political, cultural and economic life.
The PopeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s appeal is contained in his speech on the World Day of Peace on January 1 2012 [tomorrow] whose theme is Ã¢â‚¬Å“Educating Young People in Justice and PeaceÃ¢â‚¬Â, in the conviction that the young, with their enthusiasm and idealism, can offer new hope to the world.
Supporting the PopeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s address, Civil Society Education Coalition said MalawiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s interventions to provide quality education give no hope to the young people due to lack of proper policy direction and inadequate funding.
But government says it has put in place clear policy to prepare young people to deal with the world.
In the address, which will be read out tomorrow, the Pope challenges political leaders to offer concrete assistance to families and educational institutions in the exercise of their right and duty to educate.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Let them ensure that no one is ever denied access to education and that families are able freely to choose the educational structures they consider most suitable for their children. Let them give young people a transparent image of politics as a genuine service to the good of all.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The pontiff says young people worldwide complain that they do not see hope at the end of their education hence the need for political leaders to offer education that has meaning.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Concerns expressed in recent times by many young people around the world demonstrate that they desire to look to the future with solid hope. At the present time, they are experiencing apprehension about many things: they want to receive an education which prepares them more fully to deal with the real world, they see how difficult it is to form a family and to find stable employment; they wonder if they can really contribute to political, cultural and economic life in order to build a society with a more human and fraternal face,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Benedict.
He challenges the leaders: Ã¢â‚¬Å“I invite you to look to 2012 with this attitude of confident trust. It is true that the year now ending has been marked by a rising sense of frustration at the crisis looming over society, the world of labour and the economy, a crisis whose roots are primarily cultural and anthropological. It seems as if a shadow has fallen over our time, preventing us from clearly seeing the light of day.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Executive director of Civil Society Education Coalition Benedicto Kondowe said MalawiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s provision of education to young people is challenged by lack of proper policy direction and inadequate funding.
Said Kondowe on Wednesday:Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“What we have now are sporadic interventions that are not adding up to give hope to the young people. Unless government changes its business of doing this, and begins to engage the young people in designing its programmes, it is unlikely that the young people can realise their full potential and become the hope for the future generation.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Kondowe said access to education is still a problem adding that technical and vocational facilities are still meager limiting the young peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s access to education.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Today, we have over 600 000 out of school youths who roam in the streets, and remain unreached by education interventions. As a country, we do not have progressive programmes that cater of school dropout children and young people. In general, skills development programmes for such young people are still underdeveloped and uncoordinated.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Instead, politicians have in the past used the young people as shields for their regime where the young people have been used in building their own political empire. Even today, the youth wings of political parties are wrongly used at the expense of their own productive potential. Political parties use the young people to wage political war against citizens,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Kondowe.
Acting president of Chancellor College Academic Staff Union (CCASU) Dr. Jessie Kabwila agrees with the Pope on the need to offer assistance to educational institutions for the benefit of young people.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Chancellor College has been closed for eight months over a constitutional violation, which is surely not offering concrete assistance…Ã‚Â We have a backlog of two first-year groups.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“If the education system of Malawi is to focus on concerns of young people, the content, delivery and assessment has to encourage more directly, critical thought, debate and reward a studentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ability to take a stand on issues. It has to reward divergent views instead of promoting obedience, conservatism and sycophantism,Ã¢â‚¬Â she said.
But Deputy Minister of Education responsible for Primary and Secondary Schools Wictor Songazaudzu Sajeni said as part of preparing the young people with proper education, government has introduced subjects from primary to secondary level that are technically oriented. He also said technical colleges which were almost neglected are now reformed and have equipment like computers.
As for the policy, Sajeni said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“We do have a clear policy direction. We have what we call National Education Policy which is taking us from 2010 to 2017 which contains a lot of initiatives like hardship allowance for rural teachers, double shift allowance and modern housing for rural teachers among others.Ã¢â‚¬Â