Sweden Ambassador Urges Gov’t, Development Partners To Prioritize Youth Development

The Ambassador of Sweden, Ingrid Wetterqvist is urging everyone including Liberians, the Government of Liberia, Industries, Private Sectors and Development Partners to take the development of the young people of Liberia as a priority.

Ambassador Wetterqvist stated that the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) recently adopted by the Government of Liberia places great emphasis on the development of the youths of Liberia.

“And rightly so, more than 70% of the Liberian population is below the age of 35 and more than 40% is below the age of 24 and I guess in all categories. Rightly so the development of the young people of Liberia should be the priority for all of us” she said.

She stated that youths remain a very important segment of the Liberian population and must be empowered if Liberia is to move forward.
Speaking further, the Ambassador said strengthening the quality of Technical and Vocational Educational Training (TVET) for youth employability requires that the narrative is changed around TVET in Liberia, and should no longer be seen as an option for school dropouts because it is a lot more than that.

She indicated that TVET provides a wide range of technical skills and hands-on experiences that are needed to make society function properly.

Ambassador Wetterqvist, “It must resonate from here that there is dignity in empowerment and technical level expertise that TVET empowers.”

She said to ensure that TVET in Liberian be recognized for what it truly is, instruction must be rigorously guarded by TVET Teachers who have the pedagogical and technical skills as well as the practical experience to empower anybody who will be leaving a TVET Institution as quality expertise.

The Ambassador added that when the Government of Liberia and others pay attention to the development of youths through TVET, they must equally invest in TVET Teachers and pieces of equipment.

She explained that TVET can help support the development of appropriate human capital and capability to serve the requirement of the Liberian economy and contribute to poverty reduction.

“The higher the quality for TVET, the better it will be for Liberia’s development” the Ambassador expressed.

H.E. Ingrid Wetterqvist disclosed that to strengthen the quality of Technical Vocational Education (TVET) for youth employability requires that government and partners must ensure that there is equity between young men and women in the TVET landscape.

She recommended that girls and young women should not only be represented in technical training and skill building initiatives, noting that they cannot leave anyone behind as they strengthen the quality of TVET.

The Ambassador said it is her hope that they leave no one behind as they try to empower Liberian youths something she believes that the effort to achieve gender equality must target all groups of people.

Additionally, she said TVET institutions should cater to youth with disabilities and it must ensure that youths with disabilities are given the same opportunities as any other youth to improve his/her life.

She further expressed the need for people in rural parts of the Country have the same opportunity to acquire skills that people in urban areas have such as electrical engineering opportunity.

She used the occasion to call on the youths of Liberia to demonstrate the willingness and the commitment to utilize the provided opportunities.

Ambassador Wetterqvist is quoted as saying “today we are emphasizing the importance of strengthening the quality of Technical and Vocational Educational Training for the precise reason, the PAPD has clearly exposed the political will of the government to youth development”

She admonished industries and private sector to be active participants in the TVET landscape in Liberia on grounds that they have dual roles in complimenting TVET by providing practical training on the one hand and employment on the other hand and at the same time expressed excitement over the effort exerted by the private sector and various employers.

Therefore, Ambassador Wetterqvist said their roles will not be underestimated in providing the bridge between education and the labor market.

She made the statement recently at the opening of a two-day program marking the celebration of industrial day organized by the administration of the Booker T. Washington Institute held on the main campus of the school.

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