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Government moves to address youth unemployment

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 17/12/2019

The Government has now started on its initiative to address the issue of youth unemployment in Tonga. This morning, a one-day discussion was held with district and town officers on ways they could help address the issue.

The Internal Affairs Ministry in partnership with the Ministry of Education is working closely with district and town officers to identify people living in hardship and people who urgently need Government’s financial assistance.

Lu’isa Manuofetoa from the Ministry of Internal Affairs says, the 13 million pa’anga project aims to empower young teenagers to complete their high school years and prepare them to continue their studies in the tertiary level and to find the best jobs available locally and abroad.

This follows a survey in 2016 conducted by the Tonga Statistics Department indicating the urgent need to address youth unemployment.

Issues raised from the survey include, high rate of school dropout in Tonga citing reasons such as financial constraints, losing interest in completing high school years and lack of support from home towards students.

Meanwhile, CEO of the Ministry of Education – Dr. Tangikina Steen says, the concern is because the percentage of youth unemployment in Tonga is high and hence, the need to involve the communities.

She adds, about 20 percent of students are unemployed and they are working on addressing the issue on this project which will run for 5 years.

With the new project expected to commence next year, about $360 pa’anga will be given to each student per term, to fund the school fees and necessary school materials.

Meanwhile, Lapaha’s district officer – Maile ‘Akauola and Haveluliku’s town officer – Soane Naufahu expressed how happy they are with the assistance as it greatly contributes to solving the problems faced by the youth in their communities.

The project is funded by World Bank and is administered by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Education.

The project will end in 2023.


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