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‘Curriculum reforms can reduce unemployment’

BY: Theresah Esson
Professor Etienne Ehile (middle) addressing the press conference. Those with him are Professors Orlando Quilambo (right) and Mohammed Salifu. Picture: GABRIEL AHIABOR
Professor Etienne Ehile (middle) addressing the press conference. Those with him are Professors Orlando Quilambo (right) and Mohammed Salifu. Picture: GABRIEL AHIABOR

The National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) has called for a multi-pronged approach to tackle the complex issue of unemployment in the country.

For instance, it said, there should be curriculum and policy reforms to prepare students before they leave school.

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The Executive Secretary of NCTE, Professor Mohammed Salifu, made the call at a media launch of the 14th general conference and Golden Jubilee celebration of the Association of African Universities (AAU) in Accra last Thursday.

The event, slated for Accra from June 5 to 8, 2017, is on the theme: “AAU at 50, achievements, challenges and prospects for sustainable development in Africa.”

Adapt skills for ready market

Prof. Salifu also pointed out that there was the need for industries to see themselves as an extension of the learning process for tertiary education.

He said the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER), which currently stood at 15 per cent, was expected to go up in the years ahead.

The GER is a statistical measure used in the education sector to determine the number of students enrolled in the institutions.

In that light, he urged the tertiary institutions to adapt skills that would be readily needed for the market.

Prof. Salifu gave an assurance that the NCTE, through the Ministry of Education (MOE), would continue to support the activities and operations of the AAU.

Low enrolment of foreign students

For his part, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana (UG), Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, noted that the enrolment of foreign students in tertiary institutions in the country had reduced drastically over the years as a result of the poor image the media projected about the institutions.

Prof. Owusu said the media played a crucial role in society and their influence could attract foreigners to pursue higher education in the country.

He, therefore, urged the media to be conscious of their reportage to save the image of the institutions, as well as foreigners who were admitted to the country’s tertiary institutions.

Agenda 2063

On the upcoming event, the Secretary General of the association, Professor Etienne Ehile, said the celebration would provide a platform for participants to learn about the new developments in tertiary education, adding that “it is the right avenue to contribute to Africa’s development.”

He said the celebrations would give opportunity to over 500 executives from academia and industry across Africa to discuss and shape the way forward for Africa’s higher education which was in line with the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

Focus on specialisation

Speaking on the current nature of the educational system, a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) and board member of the AAU, Professor Dominic D. Kuupole, noted that many institutions had shifted their missions and priorities.

Institutions which specialised in science and technology in particular, had ended up enrolling more students in the humanities, thus deviating from the purpose for which they were set up, he said.

Prof. Kuupole called on the government to outline policies to check that development.

 

The event brought together stakeholders in tertiary education, including the Vice Chancellor of the Université Omar Bongo (Gabon), Professor Louis Ropivia, the representative of the Private Universities Association of Ghana (PUAG), Professor Kofi Osei Darkwah, and the Vice-President of the AAU, Professor Orlando Quilambo.