Stakeholders in the education sector are attending an education summit on graduate unemployment in Koforidua to, among others; develop a concrete national strategy on tertiary education, employment and entrepreneurship.
The three-day event which started on Wednesday will assess the present and future human resource needs of the country and examine global best practices to guide job creation and tackle the increasing graduate unemployment in the country.
It will also allow the stakeholders to examine the curricula of tertiary education institutions against the objectives of the national development framework, as well as assess the alignment between the needs of industry and tertiary education institutions.
It is being attended by over 150 representatives of industry, Ministries of Education, Business Development and Planning, regulatory bodies of tertiary education, heads of tertiary education institutions as well as policy makers.
The event, which is being held on the theme “Putting our graduates to work”, has also attracted academics, captains of industry, entrepreneurs, students, graduates, innovators as well as participants from Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda and South Africa.
In his opening remarks, the Minister in-charge of Tertiary Education, Prof. Kwesi Yankah said much as stakeholders generally saw education as an insurance against poverty and unemployment, there was a disturbing trend whereby a further climb on the education ladder did not necessarily reduce the hazards of unemployment.
He said the conviction was often that the higher one climbed the education ladder, the easier it would be to secure an attractive job but graduates’ unemployment today portrayed otherwise.
He quoted statistics from the Institute of Social Statistical Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana that claimed that only 10 per cent of graduates secured a job within the first year of graduation.
Another worrying trend, he cited was the situation whereby third and final year tertiary students who sought internships and national service persons have been disappointed and turned away with a ‘No Vacancy’ signage.
He said the summit would allow the participants to take a critical look at the whole value-chain of education, curriculum, skills training, job market demands and national development.
“It is my hope that in the next three days, we shall together produce a shared vision of how optimally Ghana can convert the idle hands of graduates into a formidable resource for national development,” he said.
For his part, the President of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Dr Yaw Adu stated that there was an over-emphasis on training students to provide service jobs rather than training them to work in the manufacturing sector where graduates can acquire sustainable jobs.
He expressed the hope that the government would invest into making the country an export-driven economy with several manufacturing companies that could employ graduates with the required skills, adding that it would help solve the graduate unemployment problem.
FROM AMA TEKYIWAA AMPADU AGYEMAN, KOFORIDUA