The Times published yesterday a story of a 22-year-old graduate of the Bawku Technical Institute of the Upper East Region, who had moved down south to “hustle” and raise money to continue his education.
According to the story, Ayinne Joseph Ayinbila, who hails from Wikongo, in the Talensi District, near Bolgatanga, studied and passed the Building Construction Technology III in June, but lack of funds prevented him from continuing his education.
“I am in Accra to look for opportunities to raise money to finance my education,” he was quoted as telling the Times in an interview.
Although we have not verified Joseph’s story, we no doubt believe that there are millions of Ghanaian youths who are out of school for similar reasons.
It is not difficult to spot many of these youths along the major routes of Accra, selling all manner of goods to make a living.
Joseph’s case depicts how poverty and the breakdown of family systems as well as the lure of “goodies” of the big cities are forcing the youth to drop out in the country.
We are aware of the myriad of problems that the government is confronted with, but it would be suicidal for the country to ignore youth school dropouts.
Without question, many of the millions of youths who drop out of school have talents, ability and aspirations for a better future.
This tremendous pool of talents and potential, if properly supported and channelled, can help close the skills gap in the country and greatly contribute to national productivity.
It is for this reason that, we think these youths deserve a second chance, but avenues for them to benefit from government and society’s support is unavailable.
There is no deliberate effort or strategy to support these disadvantaged youths to acquire skills and qualification that will open the door for better career opportunities.
Without doubt, it is important for the country to find solutions that will alleviate poverty and material hardships of parents and the youth.
We should not look on while the youth trade their futures to address their short term financial problems.
Whatever the case may be, we must ensure that youth employment supports ongoing education, and they do not drop out in whole or in part, to hustle for their basic needs.