Unemployment has been the bane of Ghana’s development, particularly graduate unemployment.
It is worrying that after investing life-long savings in educating our young ones, the dividends of our investments are allowed to waste without any plan or policy to put the talents of these resource-rich young ones to useful economic ventures.
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A day hardly goes by without evidence of fresh graduates combing the streets of our regional and district capitals in search of non-existent jobs.
It is worrying to see the country lose the contribution of this pool of talents.
How can we not have a policy to draw on the talents of these young individuals who have just left the walls of our tertiary institutions?
At the time university education came to Ghana with the establishment of the University of Ghana in 1948 to produce graduates, there were jobs already waiting for fresh graduates so the term graduate unemployment was non-existent.
Official figures from the National Council for Tertiary Education indicates that a minimum of 66,500 graduates join the search for jobs each year. On the other hand, data from the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) indicates that there are only 40,000 new formal sector jobs for the 66,500 graduates churned out of the country’s tertiary institutions each year.
This suggests that 40 per cent of fresh graduates face possible unemployment unless they create their own jobs.
We believe the figures may even be more looking out the number of universities currently operating in the country.
It is very sad to say that in spite of the rising unemployment levels in the economy, the economy is not growing at a rate that will create jobs.
Since studies to track unemployed graduates in Ghana have not been consistent, the GRAPHIC BUSINESS is calling on the government to conduct a research on the human resource needs of the country and tailor Ghana’s educational policy towards addressing the findings.
Through this research, national skill requirements could be estimated for the next 10 to 20 years in the various sectors.
But this does not also prevent our educational institutions from restructuring and repackaging their academic programmes to reflect the needs of the students they train and for the society at large.
Of what use is an educational training that denies its trainees the ability to function properly in the society and to contribute meaningfully to the growth of that society? Tertiary institutions should be supported to produce world-class graduates to help in the development of the country.
Our proposal is that, the content of the courses that are taught in our universities, polytechnics and other institutions of higher learning should be redesigned to enable fresh graduates to set up their own enterprises without having to go job hunting.
This way, we are more likely to produce graduates who will have the ability to provide solutions for societal problems and hence, create employment for themselves. — GB