Junior Achievement high school program is designed for students in grade 9-12. The program includes economic and business curricula, a post school student led enterprise and a job shadow program. The job shadow program involves students visiting different companies and taking up certain positions for a whole day with the real holder of the job nearby to mentor the student.
Junior Achievement has volunteers who come from different companies and hold interactive sessions with students after the normal school routine. The volunteers develop the students’ entrepreneurship skills by helping the students in their company projects which involve engaging in income generating activities.
In a political context, to start with, we must understand that the complex nature of money in today’s society has made it necessary for young adults are prepared so that they can handle their finances well. Young adults must be able to handle their daily financial transactions as they increasingly become consumers with a significant amount of disposable income.
Many young adults lack proper financial management skills and are therefore unable to manage their finances well. Junior achievement is designed to enhance the financial literacy of student’s right from a tender age. This empowers them economically as well as politically. Politics goes hand in hand with economics. People cannot be politically empowered without being economically empowered. Without being empowered economically, people cannot participate meaningfully in the political process.
In a social context, Junior Achievement helps to prepare young adults for the society which they are going to be part of once they are done with their studies. It trains them to be responsible adults who engage in meaningful employment and thus earn a decent living. Through the company program, the students come face to face with the realities of the outside world and this equips them with the necessary knowledge and skills to survive in the outside world. This goes a long way in preventing the youth from engaging in activities which have negative impact on society such as robbery and violence.
The stakeholders in the Junior Achievement include private companies and schools. Large multinational companies usually sponsor these programs in high schools. Their main interest is to develop talent at a tender age because they know that the future of their corporations lies with the young adults. If they just focus on making profits and forget to think about the future of their companies, they find themselves having no one to take up from them in the future. It is therefore in the best of their interests to ensure that these programs are successful and develop entrepreneurship right from a tender age.
Schools are also important stakeholders in this program. They must integrate such programs with their normal curricula. These programs keep students busy and therefore discourage negative behavior like drug abuse. These programs are also educative and provide students with knowledge they cannot get from their normal school work.
Junior Achievement is a very good initiative. However we must evaluate the success of these programs in our high schools. T o begin with, one if the best ways of evaluating such a program is through feed back. The students involved in the program must relay to the designers of the program what they have learnt and the importance they attach to the whole process. This can be achieved through the students filling out a questionnaire or asking the students what they think of the whole process.
Through the feed back we get from the students we can now look at areas to improve on and which ones to do away with. This makes the whole program remain relevant over the years. The main problem with most institutional programs is losing their relevance over time. To avoid this we must engage the students in the development of the program the question and answer sessions.
Finally we should encourage former participants of the program to have interactive sessions with the current participants of the program. Through such sessions students can be educated on the importance of the program. For example students who were involved in the program and now run their own businesses may be good role models to the current crop of students. This enhances the whole program and gives it more meaning.