Perm Sec tasks youths on creativity

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Arc. Sonny Echono has called on youths in the country to leverage on creativity to overcome the challenges of the 21st century.
Echono made the call at a two-day workshop, which centred on Cultural Creativity for Youth Skills Development, organised by the Nigerian National Commission for UNESCO (NATCOM–UNESCO) on Thursday in Abuja.
Represented by Mrs Elizabeth Adedigba, the Director, Technical and Science Education in the Ministry, Echono said that creativity was the most potent instrument for poverty reduction.
The Permanent Secretary called for the support and engagement of youths to acquire skills that would make them self-productive.
He said that one of the approaches of the present administration toward achieving its agenda of Economy Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) was skills acquisition, and job creation for its teaming youth population.
According to him, the weapon to fight unemployment and truancy lies in cultural creativities for youth skills development, hence creativity contributes to building open, socially inclusive and pluralistic societies.
His words: “Achieving inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities requires collective commitment of investing in culture and creativity.
“Local learning innovation and development processes are strengthened when new talents are nurtured.
“The government is paying special attention to empowering young people so as to bring about a holistic vision of culture and sustainable development for both an effective system of governance of culture and the flourishing of a vibrant creative sector.”
Also speaking at the event, the Secretary General, NATCOM–UNESCO, Mr Lateef Olagunju, challenged youths to develop innovative skills that would make them self-reliant.
Olagunju said that having skills, especially in the face of the pandemic, could empower vulnerable youth thereby reducing poverty in the country.
According to him, the ability to develop innovative skills is not merely a function of the mind but also a function of key behaviours that optimise the youth’s brains for discovery.
He said: “Empowering youths through social and economic opportunities that cultural and creative development can offer is at the heart of the 2005 Convention on the Protection of the diversity of cultural expressions.
“In its Generation 2030 Africa 2.0 report, UNICEF argues that developing skills amongst youth is germane in helping the next generation in labour markets of increased automation, technology and conventional jobs.
“The world is dynamic, and development takes place daily. White collar jobs are no longer the fashion of the day.
“Today, Nigeria should move in the direction of joining the modern global practice in creativity and self-reliance. This will empower vulnerable youths as well as boost their interest in culture and arts,” he said.
Mr Julius Fashina, the Director, Education, Planning, Research and Development, Federal Ministry of Education, said that culture played an essential role in promoting sustainable social and economic development for future generations.
Fashina therefore noted that the workshop would create a platform to learn entrepreneurial skills in culture from experts in different trades in line with UNESCO Goal 9 -Promoting Industrialisation.
On her part, Dr Caroline Eze-Okeke, the Director overseeing the Office of the Director- General, National Commission for Museum and Monuments, said creativity skill of youths was necessary at a time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She, therefore, encouraged the youths to take the bull by the horn by thinking out of the box on what to do to create their new world of prosperity.

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