Participants at a national dialogue on the youth employment challenge in Ghana have advocated the inclusion of more practical, modern and critical thinking courses in the school curriculum.
This according to them would adequately prepare the youth for the labour market to enable them to secure productive jobs after school.
Their advocacy followed the result of a research disseminated during the dialogue which indicated that, limited education and lack of relevant skill were the major causes of the high rate of youth unemployment in Ghana.
It revealed that the youth with secondary education seemed to be unprepared for the labour market, largely as a result of Ghana’s educational system which emphasises performance at examination as a measure of success with little practical content in the training curricula.
The research conducted by Dr. William Baah-Boateng, a senior research fellow at the African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET) pointed out that, unemployment was high among the educated than the uneducated youth.
“Young people particularly the educated ones tend to have high expectations of securing paid jobs rather than looking for opportunities to create their own jobs while others have high expectation of wages, should they be successful in securing jobs,” it said.
It also cited Ghana’s inability to create sufficient jobs to meet the increasing labour force as the major cause of joblessness among the youth which must be addressed immediately.
Mr. Eben Anuwa-Amarh, Commissioner of the National Development Planning Commission, (NDPC), for his part stated that the high youth unemployment rates in Ghana was as result of a three-fold increase of the youth population over the past fifty years.
“Youth unemployment continues to be of concern because of the increasing gap between labour supply and opportunities for wage employment at the firm level, and this has equally contributed to the increasing phenomenon of young persons who live, sleep and work on the streets thus deepening the incidence of poverty,” he said.
Mr. Anuwa-Amarh stressed the need for the private sector to invest more in firms to grow and hire more workers.
The Chairman of Ghana Employers Association (GEA) Mr. Alex Frimpong encouraged the youth to endeavor to acquire skills and develop their talents to create more jobs.
The acquisition certificates from schools in his view were not enough to make the youth ready for the job market.
Mr. Frimpong expressed concern about the advent of piracy in the country and urged young entrepreneurs to register their goods with the Copyrights Office of Ghana (COG) to protect their intellectual property.
By Linda Naa Deide Aryeetey and Helena Cromwell