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Opposition Senator, Mark Golding, is proposing that a Youth Empowerment programme be designed, to enroll all school leavers who are not in a tertiary institution, or vocational training programme, or full time employment.
“The design for this youth empowerment programme should reinforce wholesome values and attitudes to such foundational matters as the opposite sex, parenting, dispute resolution, community involvement, and work place discipline,” Senator Golding said, during his contribution to the State of the Nation Debate in the Senate on Friday (Nov.7).
He also added that the youth programme should seek to fill the gaps in literary and numerical skills; facilitate retakes of the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams at no expense; provide access to information technology training in basic business skills such as accounting, sales and marketing; and provide exposure to the discipline of a routine in daily organised activity, including physical exercise.
Senator Golding said the programme would also aim to provide mentorship from persons they can look up to, for example and guidance; provide each participant with a solid daily meal at no expense; and to end with a placement programme into a tertiary education institution, a vocational training programme, or a steady job.
“I think that the private sector, the churches and the Jamaica Defence Force, should all play a role in the design and implementation of this programme. It needs to be buttressed by a public education programme that reduces our cultural propensity to use violence in our everyday lives,” Senator Golding said.
“The point is we cannot abandon our dispossessed youths to a life of despair and hopelessness, where drugs and guns are the only available sources of self esteem and empowerment. The resources must be found,” he added.
Senator Golding also noted that “until we really tackle this issue, we will not have started building our road to a future of hope and progress in our country.”