Malawi President Peter Mutharika has disclosed plans by his government to establish a National Service -similar to the defunct Malawi Young Pioneers (MYP) – where the youth will be given military training.
Mutharika said in Parliament on Tuesday that the military training will be “basic.”
“Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government is also planning to establish a National Service whereby young men and women will be enlisted to undergo basic military training,” said Mutharika during his State of the Nation Address.
But his statement was received with sceptics from critics on the element of military training fearing government wants to run another para-military wing like MYP.
Critics say Malawi was not at war to train school leavers in military skills.
But Leader of the House, Francis Kasaila said in an interview that government is only interested to prepare young people for the future through giving them the necessary survival skills.
He explained that the National Service will also help in entrepreneurial skills in fields such as carpentry, bricklaying and computers among others.
The MYP camps were also giving such trainings.
Government argues that disadvantaged young people who might otherwise be anticipating a life of jobless will be even better served by National Service training, which could be tailored to give them occupational skills that will serve them well when their period of service ends and that youth unemployment will be cut.
In his address, President Mutharika said his government is in the process of establishing community colleges across the country, saying 28 community colleges will be established, at least one in each district.
“Let me report, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that so far, 11 community colleges are already operational. Government will develop the remaining 17 colleges, which are expected to be opened by 2016,” said Mutharika.
The President said government will further expand and modernize the existing seven national technical colleges in order to provide technical skills required in the labour market.
He said government is developing the Employment and Labour Policy which seeks to place employment at the centre of national development by vigorously pursuing employment creation in all sectors of the economy.
- Read Mutharika full address here: State of the Nation Address