Invest in education to end extreme poverty – WB

Mr Henry Kerali  addressing the participants.

Mr Henry Kerali addressing the participants.

A new World Bank report released in Accra yesterday has established the need for higher investment into education to end extreme poverty in the country.

The report, which measured the human capital index of countries across the world and how they lost out in economic productivity by under investing in its people, identified that though Ghana had made strides in reducing national poverty rate by more than half, there exists a wider gap between educated and non-educated households in the country.

With poverty rate declining from 52.7 per cent in 1991 to 23.4 in 2017, the report found a rather sharp increase in poverty rates amongst households with no education painting low prospects of achieving the 2030 goal of ending extreme poverty across the world.

For instance, while poverty rate was less than one per cent among households whose heads had attained tertiary level of education, 7.5 per cent for those whose heads completed Senior High School, an alarming 37.0 per cent poverty rate was recorded amongst households whose heads received no formal education.

It further found that despite Senior High School (SHS) education declared free in the country, enrolment rates remained low among boys and girls in the poorest 20 households.

“As a result, the disparity of SHS enrolment rate widened between rich and poor families. While girl’s enrolment increased from two to only six per cent by 2017, that of boys is only five per cent, even lower than that for girls,” the report noted.

The Human Capital Index (HCI) measures the amount of human capital that a child born today can expect to attain by age 18, given the risks of poor health and education that prevail in the country where he or she lives in relation to their level of productivity in the world of work.

The report was released to coincide with the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty marked every October 17, with the regional focus on “Africa’s youth and the future of work.”

In the field of employment, the report pointed out that though people who completed SHS and tertiary education were more likely to get jobs and earn stable wages, the use of technology and innovation remained low even in the formal sector.

“Only third of formal sector employees regularly use computers,” the survey revealed, recommending that, “the IT sector is rapidly growing in Ghana and makes up most of service exports and Ghana needs more young people with IT and computer skills to accelerate innovation and create more jobs for the youth.”

The Country Director, Mr Henry Kerali, in a remark at a dialogue session, observed the need for “transformational actions to spur and sustain strong economic growth and enhance human capital.”

According to him, unless measures were taken to ensure shared prosperity for all, poverty will still lurk on the continent.

In the case on Ghana, the Country Director stated that, “if we must diversify the economy, we must export more than oil, gold and cocoa. We must make sure we invest in our human capital, make sure our IT is great to create sustainable jobs.”

“As we reflect on the progress made, we also need to learn what has not worked well. This should spur us to redouble our efforts where extreme poverty is entrenched and where the pace of poverty reduction is at risk of decelerating,” he advised.

Panellists including seasoned human resource practitioner, Mrs Joycelyn Mends-Ainoo of HR firm L’aine Services and Mr Kofi Dadzie, Co-founder of Rancard, a brands company, urged young people to endeavour to add value to themselves outside academic walls to remain relevant in a global competitive world of work.

They entreated the youth to explore modern tools and technology to attract and maintain job opportunities to contribute to national development.

By Abigail Annoh

Print Friendly

Leave a Comment