Youth programme launched

THE MINISTRY of Higher and Tertiary Education has urged youths in Matabeleland South to enrol for the Integrated Skills Outreach Programme (Isop), a technical certification for students who fail “O” Levels.

REPORT BY ALBERT NCUBE

Officially launching Isop at Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Polytechnic on Thursday, the ministry’s permanent secretary Washington Mbizvo said most youths had nothing to do after finishing Ordinary Level education.

“Our schools have a capacity of accepting 32 000 “A” Level students leaving, many of them with nothing to do besides many failing to make the grades to progress hence the need to absorb them through Isop,” he said.

Isop is a multi-thronged approach by various ministries to empower youths in both rural and urban areas, with technical and entrepreneurial skills in welding, bricklaying, hairdressing, carpentry and dressmaking.

Mbizvo said training had been going on in all the 10 provinces since the programme was initially launched in 2006 by Vice-President Joice Mujuru at Sipambi Vocational Training Centre in Masvingo.

In Matabeleland South province 1 571 youths have benefited from the programme since 2006 with half being females.

Presently 98 students have enrolled for the programme.

Speaking at the same function, acting deputy director for industrial training and trade testing, Ephraim Tadzingwa said the introduction of Isop had curbed migration and minimised crime.

“Isop training has provided the platform to curb rural to urban migration in search of formal employment,” he said. “In communities where training has been conducted, the commission of crime by the youths has been minimised.”

He, however, pointed out that Isop faced funding problems, with only $136 000 having been sourced from Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund since January, with the money being used in the procurement of start-up kits as well as T-shirts for the trainees.

“The experiences of Isop in the years 2006 to 2012 have indicated the need for strong budgetary support to address the challenges and implementation gaps experienced in the coordination of the programme,” he said. He added that there is need for Isop to conduct periodic reviews and post training support to graduands, if the programme is to impact meaningfully to the national economy.

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