Compiled by Asmait Futsumbrhan
Annually numerous celebration of youth festivities are celebrated in Eritrea. However, none of them are awaited anxiously and enjoyed enthusiastically as much as the inter-college and Eri-youth festivals. These festivals take months of preparation by the host’s of the event and the competitive allies. They are also the time for the Eri-Youth to enjoy and connect with one another, a time to celebrate friendship and experience very intense and friendly competitive contests that could shine the light on your college and your Zoba.
We have here with us, Mensura Ismael, Head of NUEYS, Zoba Sawa and Higher Education Institutions, to talk about the Zoba and the youth festivals that take up great effort and emotions to prepare.
In essence, it is the 7th region of the NUEY. It is an immense region which consists of nine sub zones. Likewise, the country’s Higher Education Institution embraces seven colleges besides two sub districts of Sawa; the MaMOs (Sawa Vocational Training Institute) and Warsay Yikalo Secondary school. The region incorporates all the high-school complete students. It is also basically classified in two broad divisions; the large group represents all the college and Sawa students, whereas the smaller group that classifies cadres, administrative bodies’ bodies and clubs. All in all it is a region that follows up all the requirements of an association. It is a massive association that includes more than 25 thousand youngsters of whom 70% are in Sawa.
Focal activities of the region?
For starters, it is a region that hosts thousands of youth from across the country. Number one goal is to nurture successful youth, youth that can lead and be providers to the society. We train them on different phases as I have mentioned at the narrowed classification, how to be good guiders and suppliers by the time they join colleges. They are put straight to work after their trainings, they give seminars on various topics and lead campaigns inside or outside of their colleges. They become sufficient breadwinners to the society.
Moreover, every college works in partnership with the NUEYS branch, within the region. The society benefits massively from those particular youths. To give you an example, the cadres of the different colleges help the martyr’s family with farming, teaching high schools in their areas, giving seminars and campaigns on different important topics and so on. Students with great results in their studies are an inspiration and give their advices to the ones whom are in preparation of the matriculation exams, held both in Sawa and high school.
As well, the organisation is responsible to hold the Youth festivals of Sawa and colleges. The Youth week festival in Sawa includes both the Mamos (Sawa Vocational Training Institute) and Warsay Yikealo Secondary School students. The seven colleges also have the Youth Week festivals annually. The festivals encompasses numerous activities; artistic, sports, educational..etc for about four months with in the colleges found in the country before proceeding to the four days concluding festivities which is a competition among the other colleges.
About the festivals.
It goes through two stages, the tournaments that go on from October to February inside the colleges, and the several competitions among the colleges. The festival is not only for students, it is also for the society to witness the advances of the colleges and students. It is also a time for the people to enjoy the natural privileges of the college that hosts the festival. Every college presents exhibitions that depicts its school. Every year, one of the colleges gets to host the annually celebrated festival.
This year’s inter college festival was hosted by Halhale College of Business, being the 8th Festival of Higher Education Institution. There were four major matches and we are working on broadening the activities each year. This year’s theme was “ordinance in education and Diversity our Beauty”. It was a festival envisioned to reflect the diverse beauty our colleges’ have.
What benefits has this year’s festivals gained from the previous ones?
We can say that we have definitely outcome the challenges we had faced at the beginning. We had the troubles of managing the contests and the academic schedules, even the students and teachers didn’t fully support it as it seemed to be time consuming. It was not easy and people didn’t really understand it at first. However, we are at a time where it has become part of the academic programs and the colleges wait and prepare for it passionately.
Influences of the festivals appraised by the students.
It is massive. It has become an occasion that the students await enthusiastically. In addition to, it is also a time to restore and fix the infrastructures for the host college. Most of the colleges consider this as a benefit. It honestly is not an easy task to be able to accommodate thousands of visitors for a festival.
At this time, there is always this very strong competitive response among the schools, which is the reason they work very hard so as to come out victors. Even though we have the authority of guiding the festivals, most of the time, it’s the colleges who plan out and prepare the activities themselves. It is one of the association’s main purpose to make the students and college own their duties. I trust we have succeeded in doing so.
What does the competition reflect of?
All the activities that are presented at the event are a reflection of the college, first and for most that is. Sport activities, exhibitions, seminars and debating regarding different topics, cultural activities of our nine ethnic groups’ in line with traditional and modern music, are some of the programs the festivals undertake.
How are the colleges selected to host the events, do all of them have the capacity to host thousands of visitors?
Not all of them. We have an instruction to draw lots only among those who have the capacity each year. Over all, five colleges had the opportunity to host the inter-college festivals. Nevertheless, since EIT consists of three different colleges, we always give the chance to it after two others. Again, before we even get to draw lots, we do get a lot of offers from the institutions who are eager to have the chance, and we manage to give the opportunity to some of them depending on their capacity.
What do we expect in the future?
Well, certainly, we are going to work even harder towards strengthening the competitiveness of the students. To provide them with enough inspiration and opportunity to participate in different aspects, something they can gain from, so they can love and enjoy their college lives and create a strong bond between them and their institutions as well. We need to come up with ideas in how to do so.
There is a plan to focus on the endeavours that are done in groups. The goal is to influence youngsters in a positive ways. We are also working tirelessly to organise different new activities that are going to be a big help in strengthening the management of the programs.