The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rev. Professor Joseph Obiri Yeboah Mante, says the high rate of the unemployment situation in Ghana suggests a huge deficit in the tertiary education system.
Speaking at the 11th Congregation of the Accra Business School, Prof. Yeboah Mante called for swift educational reforms to address the rising unemployment situation.
“We have become a country of complainers. People finish school, sit there and join an association of unemployed graduates. When that happens, it shows that there is a huge deficit in university education. It will seem to me that, what every university must learn is to create entrepreneurship and innovation to teach people how to get rid of poverty and to create jobs.”
“There should be that kind of thinking so that we will never have people pray and cry to the government to give them jobs. The government provides the enabling environment for jobs to be created, and if you don’t have people whose minds have been trained for these things to happen then the country will have problems, so it seems to me that we need to change how education is done in this country.”
In 2016, the World Bank in a report on jobs in Ghana revealed that about 48 percent of the youth in the country, who are between 15-24 years, do not have jobs.
Many stakeholders have said the panacea for youth unemployment is prioritizing skill-based training, to meet the needs of the ever-changing industry.
They say the current challenge of the Ghanaian society was not unemployment, but the non-availability of the skilled and employable workforce that would deliver to the expectation of the employer, and have occasionally called for concerted efforts by all stakeholders in the education sector to equip trainees with the relevant entrepreneurial skills to improve productivity.
The issue of unemployment among the youth came to the fore once again recently after thousands of unemployed graduates thronged the Accra International Conference Centre in a bid to secure jobs during the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) two-day job fair.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the YEA, Justin Koduah Frimpong, admitted that the government has more to do in dealing with the rising levels of unemployment among the country’s youth.
He says the thousands of youth who showed up at the YEA job fair is proof that the lack of employment opportunities for graduates is a huge hurdle both the agency and the government must immediately cross and find a lasting solution to.
Mr. Frimpong indicated that he was saddened by the turnout and is prepared to liaise with other stakeholders to put the agency on its toes as a means of dealing with Ghana’s unemployment situation going forward.
“At a point, I felt sad. To be honest, looking at the number of youth who were there and the level of desperation that set in, then I really realized that, as an agency and as a country, we need to do more, although it is understandable that we are a developing country and year after year, a number of the youth want to join the labour market, which is why we are having this challenge. ”