Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Former President of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) and current Bayelsa State Commissioner for Youth Development, Mr. Udengs Eradiri, yesterday urged the federal government to convert the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to an agricultural scheme.
Speaking at a one-day youth summit tagged: ‘Transforming Education’, Eradiri argued that as currently constituted, the NYSC scheme was not adding any value to Nigeria or the corps members.
According to him, “I suggest that the NYSC be converted to an Agricultural Service Corps, so that if a student graduates from a university, his energies should be channelled to agro business venture.
“If he spends one year, you can imagine the yield that would come out from the thousands of young people that are posted out every year for the youth service, because it seems the NYSC is not adding any value to our society right now.
“Why can’t we change that to agro-based service so that for one year, youth corps members should be into rice farming, sugar cane, cassava or cocoa farming.
“By the time the yields end in one year, no sane youth would be idle. He would want to implement what he learnt in one year probably in his father’s farm or his family land. So let us begin to change in line with the current reality, and that’s what we are looking at now.”
He called on policy makers to put on their thinking caps, stressing that the even the business of refuse collection has become so important that a former Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, allegedly lost his re-election bid to issues surrounding it.
The commissioner said: “Today you see garbage everywhere. Refuse collection is big business in the world. But how do we use our brains to engage young people and then bring the necessary technology to make it viable to our society?
“Ambode lost his second term bid allegedly to this matter. You all know the story in Lagos; so we must begin to look at how we would use our environment to create that engagement that will keep our youths busy.”
Eradiri said Bayelsa State is meeting with multinationals and other key stakeholders to develop youths in the state by providing them with good and quality education.
He said: “We are talking about the need to change the educational curriculum in this part of the world to meet the challenges of present day.
“We cannot be in the same ‘Ezekiel goes to school’ kind of education. We should begin to change our curriculum to a more technical one because that’s where the world is going to now.
“People are talking about artificial intelligence and ICT while our educational curriculum is still stagnant like what was attainable in 1960s.
“So, when we talk about education, and young people gather like this, that gives us the opportunity to brainstorm on the need for modification of the educational curriculum in the country so as to prepare young people for the challenges ahead.”
Also speaking , a governorship hopeful, Godknows Igali, argued that the greatest gift given to man by God is human resources as well as abundant natural resources and good land which he stressed are some of the strengths of the Niger Delta region.