#Article (Archive)

An Exemplar

Apr 8, 2008, 6:14 AM

One of the many reasons why the National Youth Service Scheme (NYSS) was set up is to give our young people the skills they need to be self-reliant in life. Candidates opt for vocational skills they think they are best suited for, out of the many and varied skills on offer at the centre. These include car repairs and electrical installation. Those who have completed the respective vocational courses seem to be doing well in their chosen fields. One of such people is Kawsu Badjie.

Ex-corps member and chairman of the interim executive committee of the NYSS alumni association, Mr Badjie has just been singled out for further training in electrical installation in the Republic of Mali. After completing his training programme at the NYSS, Mr Badjie went into self-employment, managing an air conditioning, electrical and refrigeration workshop. He is apparently giving a good account of himself for the NYSS secretariat to have recommended him for a one-month further training in Mali. At the end of the training, he is expected to come back home with US$600 richer. With this modest sum, he is expected to refurbish his workshop. "When I return from Mali," he said, "I will strive hard to serve my nation by putting into good use the knowledge gained."

The Kawsu Badjie example is significant in more ways than one. Firstly, his determination to succeed despite meagre resources should serve as an inspiration to other young Gambians to stay the course. Secondly, through his success, he has created employment opportunities for other Gambians who would otherwise have been jobless. Thirdly, he has reinforced the usefulness of skill acquisition as a potent tool for navigating life's rough sea. There are few people, if any at all, who have succeeded in life without a skill of some sorts. If our youth are really desirous of success, then they will have to learn to take pride in skill acquisition rather than look down their noses at it. No trade on its own is worthless; it all depends on how you apply yourself.

We therefore urge our young people who are not so academically inclined to look inwards and choose a trade that they can learn and practise. We contend that is far better than idling around and waiting to cross over to 'Babylon'.