Nasir Kazmi, Education Adviser at the Commonwealth Secretariat, makes the case for strengthening bridging mechanisms between young people and their prospective employers to tackle the youth unemployment challenge in the Commonwealth, and introduces findings of a recent Commonwealth review into current practice and effectiveness of Sector Skills Councils.
The Commonwealth situation is unique due to its membership, geographic spread and the population demographics of member countries – 60 per cent of the 2.4 billion people in the Commonwealth are below the age of 30 years. Currently, within the Commonwealth there are 17 million primary aged and around 16 million secondary aged children out of school (2015).
Conventionally, the initiatives undertaken to support the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), led by universal primary education (UPE), have led to a demonstrable increase in enrolment rates in many countries at that level, consequently an increase in enrolment at secondary level. However, there are high drop-out rates at secondary and higher secondary levels, resulting in a broad gap in transition from secondary to any form of formal post-secondary or Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) or transition to the world of work.
Conversely, there has been increasing recognition in global debates of the need to prioritise `skills development’ for economic growth and productivity, not just for local economies but in the broader context of globalising economies where skills standards are increasingly transnational and global in many sectors…
Education Adviser at the Commonwealth Secretariat