GOVERNMENT has reintroduced mandatory Zambia National Service (ZNS) skills training for school-leavers, Youth and Sport Minister Chishimba Kambwili, has announced.
Mr Kambwili announced in Parliament yesterday that the reintroduction of the ZNS mandatory training for youths will start with Grade 12 school-leavers for the end of year 2013.
He said K100 billion allocated in this year's budget was meant for the refurbishment of the ZNS infrastructure that would host the youth and that additional funds would be sourced in next year's budget.
The minister said the training would equip youths with survival skills and that it would be different from the training undertaken during the UNIP government, where it involved military training.
Trainees would be expected to spend 18 months at the ZNS camps before enrolling for further education at college or university levels.
The last crop of school-leavers to undergo ZNS training during the UNIP era, was in 1980.
Mr Kambwili said youths would receive training in various fields including carpentry, welding, and automotive mechanics.
Mr Kambwili said the move was aimed at equipping school leavers with various skills to cope with life's challenges and use them for entrepreneurship.
He was responding to Patriotic Front (PF) Bahati Member of Parliament (MP), Harry Kalaba who wanted to know whether the Government had any plans for youth development.
Mr Kambwili said the skills training programmes were important to equipping the youth with skills that would help them sustain themselves in an event that they failed to enroll into college or university.
He said his Ministry had already issued a Cabinet Memorandum for Cabinet approval.
"It is important that they (youths) have survival skills as they go into university or college and in the event that they fail to complete but at least they have these life skills to help them engage in their own businesses and earn a living," Mr Kambwili said.
He expressed confidence that the skills training programme would act as an empowering tool for the youths across the country.