More than four hundred graduate from controversial boot camp
by Mpho Keleboge
The controversial training, which attracted opposition party critics on the training of youth by the military under the Youth Empowerment Scheme (YES) has graduated its first batch.
During the pass out, 496 graduated, and Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Edwin Batshu, said the Youth Empowerment scheme, is challenging government departments to review their employment and procurement policies, with a view to absorbing younger graduates.
The pass out parade, which was carried out over the weekend at Kang, was graced by different stakeholders, including their parents.
Batshu said the graduates should not become a cheap source of labour to some employers, but rather they should be assisted to become more competitive in the labour market, in order to reduce the importation of skilled labour.
He said the overall goal of the YES programme is to enhance young people’s employability and to promote them to play a critical role in designing the future they will ultimately inherit.
The boot camp, which lasted for a month, provided multifaceted training by different ministries.
He said the graduates will be attached to different government departments, parastatals and some Non Governmental Organisations and later be employed.
Batshu said that Government is accused of interfering with parenting rights at the expense of promoting youth rights.
This accusation, he said, is not only unfair but also presents parents as lacking parental skills that will produce responsible citizens who can be proudly presented to the nation and international community.
“Rights come with responsibilities and they can only be conferred on someone who demonstrates a high degree of discipline. Discipline is not confined to the military but rather it translates itself through consistent adherence to define principle that brand you as a person,’ he said.
The boot camp neither is smooth sailing nor is life, said Batshu.
“It is everybody’s responsibility to contribute to the development of responsible young citizens, who are motivated to contribute back to the community,” he said.
But in an interview with The Telegraph, a week before graduation, some Community leaders in the Kgalagadi North constituency claimed to be denied entry at a Youth Empowerment Scheme boot-camp in Kang at which more than 500 unemployed youth, aged between 18 and 35, were participating in the boot-camp.
Kang North councillor, Kemmonye Makatane, pointed out that the boot-camp at Matsha Senior Secondary was secretive and that the youth were being trained life skills military style, with a back up of some people alleging that the initiative is the brainchild of President Ian Khama.
But Batshu said the ultimate goal is to make the national economy vibrant in order to sustain created employment opportunities while at the same time enhancing the county’s global competitiveness in terms of skills and innovative ideas that drive sustained economic development.
He also dismissed media reports and other critics who charge that the initiative is run by the military.