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Teenage Festival of Life is by far, the largest school event in Lagos. It is an annual festival organized by Action Health Incorporated to create a platform for young people to showcase their creativity through songs, dance, drama, essays and poetry while addressing the Issues that affects them in the society. TFL starts with a call for entry to all public Secondary Schools in Lagos, after getting the approval from the Lagos State Ministry of Education. In 2019, there were over 200 entries received, after which 38 schools battled it out during the pre-judging stage, before the final nine best entries were selected for grooming to perform on TFL stage.
The early stage of TFL usually begins in the second quarter of the year (April - June) with getting the approval from the ministry while the submission of entries lasts a month or a month and the half, prejudging comes up somewhere around late August to early September, the grooming lasts for a month (throughout October) and the TFL finale comes up on the first Saturday in November, but can happen two Saturdays earlier or later, TFL2019 was held at the University of Lagos' Main Auditorium with over 2,000 young people present for the festival as well as top personalities in bussiness, music government and film industry on Saturday November 2, 2019
Over the past 25 years Teenage Festival of Life (TFL) has brought to the forefront, issues pertinent to the well-being and development of young people. Last year wasn't different as we deliberated on a critical theme speaking to the empowerment of young people. The theme for last year's festival was "Empowerment for Life: 21st Century Skills for Young People."
A recent study by Darlbërg, revealed that Nigeria experienced economic growth from 2006 to 2016. However, it did not translate to a corresponding improvement with employment. Furthermore, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that 55.4% of young people in the Nigerian Labour Markets are either unemployed or underemployed. It has even been further projected that Nigeria's unemployment rate will reach an all-time high of 33.1% by the end of 2020. The causes of these unemployment aren't far-fetched, factors arising from; high-youth population, skills-gap between the training received in formal educational institutions and the requirements of the contemporary job markets. Adding to that, there are also issues around out-dated school curricula, youth entering the labour market faster than the rate at which jobs are created and large population of youth employed in the informal sector. So do you see the need for young people to be educated on 21st Century Skills?
That is why TFL2019 availed young people the opportunity to be informed of the impending changes in the labour market, and the necessary skills needed by young people.
So what are these skills needed by young people?
That is a really good question, the World Economic Forum (WEF) identified 10 skills that are being looked out for by employers this 21st Century. I wonder how many of these skills young people have... Some of these skills include: Critical thinking (CT), Analytical Thinking, Emotional Intelligence, Technology design, programming among others. These skills are important to us now, than ever, therefore we must inspire students to be life-long learners, focus on 21st Century Skills and get empowered to help tackle real world issues.
The presentations portrayed the importance of acquiring 21st century skills. In order for to prepare for this approaching reality, government, businesses and individuals need to embrace agile life-long learning and find socio-economically inclusive and strategies and programmes.