Do you think that the crime rate in the country right now is bad? Has anyone thought of the tsunami effects of the unemployed free -SHS graduates; four years from now? Think again! Wait until the current free- SHS recipients hit the unemployment line in their numbers.
The good news: Within the next four years, without a doubt, the free- SHS initiative is going to push the literacy rate in the country to an astronomical level; so is the crime rate. And, that could shake the nation's equilibrium severely beyond repairs.
Ever since the Free- SHS policy was initiated, I have been thinking about how such a noble policy could eventually, turn out to be a 'devil in disgust' if we focused exclusively on its positive effects.
" Say what?".Yeah, you heard me right !. Upon all the fanfare about the free- SHS policy and its intended purposes, it's going to create very negative repercussions down the road if its recipients are totally ignored or neglected after graduation.
This is how I see it in four years' time, when the current recipients of the policy graduate from SHS. Unfortunately, only one-third of them will probably get access to tertiary institutions. The other 2/3 will end up on the job market, looking for jobs that are nowhere to be found. Not to mention the college graduates who had been home without a job since 2012 and still counting.
One question that still needs to be resolved is the issue of job availability for those who are not college destined after SHS education. Have we thought about what this segment of the population can put this nation (with its fragile democracy) through if its members had nothing else to do with their time and energies? Oh lord, we're talking about a group of people with a megawatt appetite for material things and a huge desire to own the latest electronic gadgets. They have instant gratification syndrome with a huge mistrust for any authority or the law.
With the caliber of graduates, the new education system is going to spew out, we can't take their 'wants'(that have been turned into' needs') for granted because they're not ready to negotiate their desire to be 'somebody' without a fight.
With no job in sight, a lot of them will end up in the unemployment lines permanently. The majority of them will also engage in other anti-social activities to make a living by any means necessary. And, that is where the problem is.
Can you see the picture clearly now? Maybe not, because you're probably too busy grabbing all that you can from mother Ghana and milking the system to the bones along the way before the general election takes place. Or you don't want to be bothered with someone else's problems. But, can you honestly feel secured in your gated communities when the nation is on fire? Oh, well ,is good for you. Enjoy your booty and live as if tomorrow won't come. And, how much money is enough?
The Government and the education service should introduce entrepreneurship and super customer -service skills in the free- SHS equation, so as to prepare the students for the future job market. By so doing, a lot of them with creative minds would be able to start their own businesses right after graduation. Business start-up seed money should also be guaranteed by the government for those who will go on their own to start a business; so they won't have to look for a job handout from the government.
Why superb customer- service skills? By far, the most thriving business that doesn't require a huge capital infusion is the tourism industry or waste disposal management. It's also an industry that gives a huge dividend in a short period of time. But, there is a catch. One needs tons of well- crafted customer -service skills in order to survive in it. But unfortunately, this particular generation is devoid of all the skills needed for hospitality or tourism industry start-ups; so the students need to be taught vigorously and compulsorily before they come out of school.
Having said all that, a lot of the current government's sympathizers will see my genuine concern with jaundiced eyes and classify it as a 'doom's day prophecy'.On the other hand, the NDC will run with it and play a political football with it until they get tired. At the end, nothing concrete will come out of it ,and no comprehensive action would be taken to prepare the nation for this social tsunami that is about to hit Ghana in the next four years and beyond---if nothing is done about it right now."Don't -fix -it ,if -isn't- broke" syndrome is eating us alive.
Nevertheless, if nothing is done about it all the political dividends that the free -SHS initiative generated will be a waste and the political capital that came out of it will go up in flame as well.
I hope and pray someone is hearing my voice in the wilderness out there; before things fall apart. Because when things fall apart, none (absolutely none )of us will be at ease. The volcano is very hot and ready to erupt at any day now, so we shouldn't aggravate the situation while we have time to fix things.
Prove me wrong, if you can.
Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi(voice of reason)
The author is a social commentator and a die-hard concerned citizen of this great nation.
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