University leaders have expressed grave concern over the country’s growing unemployment situation and demanded academia re-examines their curricula and forge stronger collaborations with industry players to quell the menace.
The grim unemployment situation, the academicians noted, was becoming entrenched, with even final year students seeking internships, returning home empty handed as industries and work places remained choked.
Speaking at the 11th congregation of the Ghana Technology University College (GTUC), on Saturday, Dr Osei Darkwa, President of the college said research reports showed that the world’s unemployment rate was predicted to surge to about six per cent by 2018.
The expected rise, he said, “interestingly captures people, who are educated and supposed to be engaged in formal jobs, and the menace was even increasingly alarming in Africa, including Ghana.”
“The situation calls for academic institutions to relook their curricula and establish stronger networks with industry, in order to deliver relevant programmes to make graduates employable,” Dr Darkwa said.
He commended the “few universities and colleges” in the country, who have attempted to develop employable skills and the spirit of entrepreneurship in students, but said more universities ought to be involved.
He also said academia ought to establish partnerships and work to change the mind-set in the field to create an atmosphere where both faculty and students actively seek to prepare graduates for the job market.
“As part of efforts to improve employability of graduates, we should also promote university-industry linkages, without abandoning the core business of universities to educate, research and disseminate knowledge,” he said.
Addressing the 240 graduates on the theme: “Producing employable graduates for the Ghanaian industry”, Professor Kwesi Yankah, President of the Central University College, described the state of employment in the country as “sad, grim, dangerous and a time bomb.”
“The sign of a grim unemployment situation show very early in the day, and there is indeed a danger that internships will soon exist only on paper,” he said, noting that, even when National Service personnel volunteer to work, employers say “no vacancy.”
“There appears to be a glut of graduates and the story is even grim when graduates of applied science courses, like nursing and physician assistantships finish school and the nation appears to have no use for them,” Prof. Yankah added.
He said many graduates of nursing and physician assistantship, for two years or more, were still awaiting placement, with virtually nowhere to go, as rural dwellers die of simple disease conditions.
“if graduates of applied sciences could not be put to work, then what about those in humanities, social sciences and businesses?” he asked.
“Let industry and academia improve their dialogue. Let us streamline the academic curriculum; let’s infuse academic work with more practitioners and let’s even create more internship,” Professor Yankah said.