President raps universities for graduate unemployment

Nana Akufo-AddoPresident Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called for close collaboration between the private sector and institutions of higher education to address the issue of graduate unemployment.

The problem of graduate unemployment, the President observed, was partly due to the fact that the curricular in the universities were not relevant to the requirement of the job market.

Opening the 14th Association of African Universities (AAU) General Conference in Accra yesterday, President Akufo-Addo urged the universities to appoint some key players in the private sector on their academic board to offer direction on the exact needs and requirements of the job market.

Such advice, he said, would, to a large extent, help shape the curricular of the universities and ensure that the right kind of skilled labour forces were produced for the needs of the job market.

He said although the number of universities on the continent kept expanding, there were still deficits in the number of skilled labour forces produced to meet the demand of the job market.

President Akufo-Addo encouraged the universities to take science and technology serious and generate graduates that could confront the challenges in the country.

He also urged them to take research seriously to enable governments and policy makers to appreciate the challenges confronting the continent and develop the right policies to address those challenges.

The President underscored the need for the universities to draw closer to governments and assist in deepening democracy and good governance on the continent.

While acknowledging the difficulties facing universities such as the inability to retain staff, ageing professors, among others, he urged the various universities to learn from the best practices of each other to improve their individual academic systems.

He said the continent had not made much progress in education and attributed the weak SME sector, poor research, and under-developed engineering sector to the poor standard of education on the continent.

Citing Asia as an example, he said countries on that continent produced teachers who, in one generation, changed the attitude of people towards science and technology and urged Africans to launch a relentless search for solutions to the continent’s educational challenges.

“We have done enough talking. We know what we need to do and it is time to do it. We have run out of excuses. We have the man power and we should summon the political will to make Africa work,” he said.

He said the ancient origins of higher learning served as a catalyst to advancement in human civilisation which expanded the human horizon and possibility of human thought and indicated that it was not late for Africa to rise above the challenges.

By Yaw Kyei

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