Deputy President William Ruto wants youths to take their rightful positions in the society and shape Africa’s development.
Mr. Ruto said young people should not understate their power to transform the continent by the old-dated notion that their time would come tomorrow.
He said they must be hungry for a better future if they are to make it in life, and turnaround the society. Impossible, he added, is a word with diminished application and relevance.
The Deputy President spoke at Serena Hotel, Kampala, where he was awarded the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award.
“In making the decision to grant me this award, the organisers of this event make reference to the contributions I have been privileged to make in my country, specifically in the development and transformation of our young people,” said Mr Ruto.
He noted that the recognition represented the idea that Africa must learn to celebrate and validate her own “rather than wait for external approval of others”.
But for youths to unlock their potential, Mr Ruto said there is need for Africa’s education system to be reformed to lean towards science, technology and technical training.
“This view is informed by the fact that while at school, I marveled at the pedagogy that emphasised information of little relevance to Africa’s economic development,” he said.
For what shall it profit a young person to know when Vasco da Gama reached Malindi or when Henry Morton Stanley discovered the mouth of the Congo River, he wondered, unless such a youth is acquainted with the science of crop production or electricity generation and the art of design?
Driven by the desire to make the education system relevant to the needs of the society, Mr Ruto said for the last six years, the government has put more emphasis on the “forgotten, ignored and underfunded technical training” for Kenya’s industrial take off.
“Today, we boast of 11 national polytechnics, 125 vocational colleges and 67 others at different stages of development. From the current 180,000 students in technical colleges, our plan is to expand enrolment to over three million in the next five years.”
Mr Ruto challenged youths to go out and seize opportunities to be part of those who make history.
In the speech that was read by the Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, President Yoweri Museveni urged youths to focus on issues that are transformative.
“Well guided young people are an asset to the community. They are an important link between the past and the present. We are glad that the focus of youths today is on bringing solutions to societal problems,” said Mr Museveni.
The Prime Minister lauded Mr Ruto for the good work he was pursuing not only in Kenya but across the region.
“Continue being the change agent that the society needs,” said Dr Rugunda.
Founded by two entrepreneurs Awel Uwihanganye and Ivan Serwano Kyambadde in 2009, Young Achievers Awards recognises outstanding youth in Uganda that have excelled in various realms such as the arts, entrepreneurship, journalism, philanthropy, innovation, sports, among others.
Those who accompanied the Deputy President were his wife Mrs Rachel Ruto, EAC Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohammed, Governors Prof John Lonyangapuo (West Pokot), Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia) and Josephat Nanok (Turkana), Trans-Nzoia Senator Michael Mbito and MPs Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu) and Robert Pukose (Endebess).