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1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Records from the National Population Commission (2001) indicate that youths under the age of 30 constitute over half of the approximately 150 million Nigerians. According to Doreo Partners (2013) unemployment rate in Nigeria is growing at the rate of 16% per year with the youth impacted the most and accounting for three times the general unemployment. Nigeria’s spiralling youth unemployment can be said to have significantly contributed to the dramatic rise in social unrest and crime such as Niger Delta militancy, Boko Haram and the Jos crisis. One implication of the above is that in another one to-two decades most of the youths of today will be parents in their mid-life years, and with little or no adequate skills in a fast emerging competitive global economy, it is doubtful how they can propel the needed wheel of development.
Poverty and unemployment as social problems have remained major developmental challenges in Nigeria for a very long time. As Obadan and Odusola (2001) observed, unemployment in Nigeria was more acute in the 1980s and this has been on the increase ever since. In 2008, 15% of the nation’s work force was unemployed and in 2011 the figure rose to 20% (Lamido, 2013); and the victims of this phenomenon are the youths who till date have had the highest unemployment rate in Nigeria. According to Akanda and Okuwa (2009) between 40-60% of those unemployed in Nigeria are aged between 15-25 years and Rotimi (2011) puts the ages between 18 and 45 years. The unemployed are poor and most of them carry the phenomena into their old ages.
Most of those paraded by the law enforcement agencies before the mass media in the country as members of criminal groups fall within this age bracket. Most of those used in sucide bombings by unemployment groups in the country also fall within this age group. And most of those involved in the Niger Delta miilitancy are also of this age group. The fact is that if these youths have alternative means of livelihood or are gainfully employed in the economy, most of them would not take part in these criminal activities.
The most disturbing aspect of this phenomenon is that some of those involved in these crimes are educated. The worst thing that would ever happen to a nation is for the nation’s educated citizens to be involved in crimes, and most of them are involved in cyber-crimes and advanced fee frauds. Whereas the uneducated are mostly involved in violent crimes, the educated are involved in non-violent crimes which are worse in magnitude and scope than the violent crimes; and they have greater consequences and impacts on the socio-economic processes and administration of the country. This gives rise to more anger and frustration for the uneducated youth who looks with anger and envy on the educated, and make the uneducated to use more severe violent means to eke out an existence.
Central to the attainment of employment generation in any economy is the availability of finance; more generally, cheap finance. Nnanna (2004) argued that bank credit is important for a smooth take-off of business enterprises and also ensures its efficient performance thereafter, even as Nzotta (2004) reiterated that finance influences, positively, the level of economic activity in a region. Finance is capable of influencing what is to be produced, for whom to be produced and how it will be produced including the prices of the produced goods and services are to be dispensed to final consumers. Thus, adequate availability of finance is the hub of employment generation in both small and large economies. Finance thus ensures that economic ills enshrined in unemployment are checked and controlled.
The scourge of poverty and unemployment has ravaged almost all nations of the world in different dimensions and shades. But in Nigeria, as Akande and Okuwa (2009) pointed out, the unemployment challenge is captured by the growing number of unemployed youths roaming the streets all over the country. It is seen in the informal sector of the economy as under-employment; declining real wages; reduced incentives; reduced private investment in all sectors of the nation’s economy; and a reduction in the quality of education and training given to the citizens in our educational institutions across the country. Poverty and rising crime wave are consequences of this phenomenon. In other words, unemployment in Nigeria carries with it a number of attendant social, economic, political and psychological and security challenges. Therefore, this study focuses on the assessment of mass media role in reducing unemployment among youths in Nigeria.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The greatest challenge facing the country today is the absence of youth employment; our youths are not employed. Youths after graduation roam the streets of Nigeria in search of work. Unemployment has maintained a rising trend over the years. According to National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in the “2012 National Baseline Youth Survey”, more than half which is about 54 percent of the Nigerian youth population is unemployed. Every year, over 300,000 graduates are churned out from the tertiary institutions nationwide.
This number grows yearly and translates into more and more youths wandering the streets of Nigerian cities. There is no doubt that youth’s unemployment is a societal problem in any nation, but the Nigerian situation is alarming. This most times account for most of the social crimes perpetrated by graduates in Nigerian society today. If the youths are empowered and have something to do, the level of prostitution, armed robbery, oil bunkering, internet frauds, drug addiction, trafficking, rape, kidnapping and all facets of violence like the militancy in the Niger Delta and Boko Haram in the North East will be reduced to the barest minimum.
Several factors may be blamed for the prevalence of youth unemployment in Nigeria. There is a high population growth rate—3.5 percent per annum—which accompanies an already large national population of over 167 million youth. In addition, deficient school curricula and poor teacher training have contributed to the failure of educational institutions to provide students the appropriate skills to make them employable. Since schools in rural areas are generally more deficient in infrastructure, teaching facilities and teacher quality than schools in urban areas, this may help account for the high growth in rural unemployed youth. These problems make it glaring that there is a need to carry out an assessment of mass media role in reducing unemployment among youths in Nigeria.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of this study is to carry out an assessment of mass media role in reducing unemployment among youths in Nigeria. The specific objectives are:
1. To enlighten the public and see how the mass media has influence the spread of employment opportunities.
2. To see if the mass media have a positive or negative influence on the youth.
3. To see if the mass media are publicizing the unemployment for their own interest, that is getting the attention of more viewers.
4. To examine the cause and effect of unemployment on the youth, government and the economy.
5. To see how the mass media has also assisted the government in fighting unemployment.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
For the purpose of this study, the following research questions will be considered
1. Is the mass media not magnifying the threat and fear of the youth in the way they report unemployment?
2. What are the effects of media campaign against unemployment?
3. What roles should the mass media play in fighting against unemployment?
4. To what extent do mass media report unemployment?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study is relevant to the management of the mass media broadcasting stations because it elucidates the role of mass media in reducing unemployment among youths in Nigeria. The findings from this study also address the need for youths to become active audience of the mass media.
This study will enhance the existing body of literature by contemplating the areas of the literature that have not yet been examined or considered and incorporating these factors into the current study. The study will thus form the basis for further studies in the field.
1.6 SCOPE OF STUDY
This research work will be based on questionnaire that will be distributed among students. This research has succeeded in asking 100 students about the role of mass media in reducing unemployment among the youths. Kwara State Polytechnic is our case of study and the responses of the students will be gathered after the first semester examination of the 2012/2013 academic session.
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