Set up separate ministry for youth — Prof. Ayee

BY: Lydia Essel-Mensah
Prof. Joseph Atsu Ayee
Prof. Joseph Atsu Ayee

A professor of Political Science at the University of Ghana, Legon, Professor Joseph Atsu Ayee, has called for the creation of a ministry in-charge of youth development to help address issues affecting the youth.

Such a Ministry of Youth, he said, should serve as a parent body to the National Youth Authority (NPA) and all related youth agencies, to address the concerns of the youth.

He said the whole idea of linking sports with youth development would undermine policy direction for the youth because the Ministry of Youth and Sport under the Fourth Republic had shifted attention to the development of sports while the issues of the youth had been relegated to the background.

Sharing his perspective on the issue of youth unemployment, Prof Ayee said the time had come for the country to address the issue in a more holistic and comprehensive manner to pave way for better opportunities for the youth to explore and put the knowledge they had acquired into good use.

National Youth Policy

He said to be able to deal with youth unemployment, the nation must go back to the 2010 National Youth Policy to help address the long and medium-term strategies of the youth.

“In that document, a youth has been defined as between 15 – 35 years. So it means the youth constitute about 36 – 40 per cent of Ghana’s population. It is quite a huge figure which demands a consensus from all stakeholders, including the political parties to plan for the way forward as a country,” he stated.

The Political Science lecturer was of the view that the state could not employ all the youth because of lack of resources but that should not be an excuse to deprive them of other avenues that could help them secure jobs.

Private sector

‘‘That is why it is important for the nation to help in building a strong private sector with an enabling environment to enable it take care of these issues. It is, however, unfortunate that succeeding governments since independence have developed a phobia for private sector, all because politicians always want to capitalise on the problems affecting the youth, especially youth unemployment, to solicit for votes during elections.

“Governments upon governments always say we are interested in developing the private sector but to no avail. They rather set up uncoordinated agencies as an avenue for employment but it all ended up as temporary jobs for the youth,” he emphasised.

Entrepreneurship

With regard to entrepreneurship, Prof. Ayee explained that it was about acquiring of skills and expertise which would help someone to set-up a business.

To be able to develop the skills and experience of the youth, he said, the focus should be on their education, training, employment, and the preparation for the future.