Unemployment, job creation, graduate unemployment among others deserve sincere and objective consideration by political leaders, business leaders , Educational leaders and jobseekers to be able to develop a comprehensive solution in the interest of all.
Considering from 2001 just to capture two decades of unemployment and its related discussions in Ghana, no political administration has been “free “ from the reality. One apparent consequence has been a deep-seated political strategy by political parties to influence voters instead of finding lasting solutions on job creation and unemployment issues.
All administrations since 2001 introduced strategies to attempt to deal with what has been described as potential tsunami that will put excessive pressure on governments. All administrations have introduced “youth in this “, “you in that “ in a way to contain the situation but these measures have not proven to be potent.
When the pressures of unemployment surge, government officials are quick to find what to blame. Recently, the Finance Minister before the reading of the 2022 national budget , said” the public sector is choked and job seekers should engage in entrepreneurship to create their own jobs”. After the reading of the budget the minister is questioning how students are being trained in the university because the graduates do not have what it takes to work. The same mindset went into the NABCO policy at the end of the day the situation is as if nothing had been done.
As a University Lecturer, l do admit that we have a role to play. We have changed the curriculum to ensure skill sets required by industry are integrated including exposure of our students through internships. All these should be driven by collaborative efforts by industry and employers on one hand, Universities and other training institutions and the government and its agencies on the other. It seems industry , largely the private sector wants to blame universities and do not want to participate to support to sharpen the skills of students. Government is expected to do the needed investment to support the universities instead of blaming educational institutions.
The fact is the economy is not creating the jobs. We describe growth of the economy as jobless growth so for those managing jobless growth to blame educational institutions for unemployment is unfortunately and if this is allowed to fester a wrong solution will be given without results.
Am wondering why we have about 99% Ghanaian graduates employed in all institutions including the private sector yet we want to downgrade our graduates. Over 99% of Ghanaian graduates are the ones working in the Bank of Ghana , all the commercial banks, Databank, accounting and auditing firms . In fact majority of workers in the Ministry of Finance are Ghanaian graduates.
We believe that even if our graduates cannot be use readily on day one of giving a chance , one week orientation and training is enough for them to perform. In the past almost all companies have training departments to support new employees but some companies now think our graduates should fit immediately for use from school. We can collaborate to achieve this but blame game is not the solution.
We believe educational institutions should continue to improve the delivery, revise curriculum, develop general and discipline specific skills as informed by our engagement with industry to bridge the gap.