Stanbic Bank has launched the 4th edition of its National Schools Championship under the theme “Empowering the job creators of tomorrow”. The annual competition seeks to equip students with business and enterprise skills in a bid to nurture entrepreneurship, creativity and long term business thinking. It targets students at the secondary level of education.
Making his keynote speech at the launch, Stanbic Board Chairman Japheth Katto said, “Youth unemployment is a serious problem that unfortunately continues to plague many African countries. Uganda for example boasts of having the second youngest population in the world. It is therefore imperative that we ensure this young population is participating productively for the good of our country’s economy. The Stanbic National Schools Championship has become a powerful platform empowering students and teachers to start their own businesses and become job creators.”
According to the bank’s Head of Corporate Social Investment (CSI) Barbara Kasekende, Education is a critical sector that all stakeholders must pay attention to.
“Uganda’s Ministry of Education, in line with the National Development Plan 2020, expects at least 20 million children and young adults between the age of 3 and 24 to pass through the education system. This is informed by the fact that 80 percent of the country’s population is under the age of 30. The reality on the ground however is that school enrollment numbers continue to decline as students advance through the different education levels,” she said.
Kasekende explained that according to the 2017 Education Monograph report released by UBOS in partnership with UNFPA and UKAID, about 11 million children went through Primary school. This represents 54.7% of the number of children expected to go through the education system. About 26% (5.2 million) of this same number went through secondary school while 19.2% were enrolled into tertiary institutions. In addition, of the students who make it through tertiary institutions, many find it difficult to get jobs. Statistics from the International Labor Organization (ILO) show the youth unemployment rate in Uganda rose from 2.7% in 2013 to 2.9% in 2017.
“These statistics paint a clear picture of why Education should be a key focus area for both the public and private sectors. There is need to empower young people to be able to participate in the economy despite their level of education. As a bank, we use the National Schools Championship as a platform to impart financial literacy and life skills to these students so they can become job creators rather than job seekers. We equip them with the skills that will enable them to start their own businesses. Through this program students together with their teachers have been able to come up with business ideas and execute them into full-fledged small enterprises,” she added.
The championship has maintained the same theme of, “empowering the job creators of tomorrow” for the second year in a row. This, according to Kasekende is because of the need to emphasize how crucial it is to skill these students from a young age.
This year, the bank’s target is to reach 72 schools from across the country’s 4 regions compared to last year’s 60 schools. Also notable is that the competition aims at reaching and impacting 21,600 students compared to last year’s 6,000 as well as empower 72 teachers. Since inception of the NSC, over 180 secondary schools have been involved.