Professor Ransford Gyampo of the University of Ghana has bemoaned the instance where party foot soldiers who are ignorant and clueless rather benefit from the government’s entrepreneurship programs to the detriment of the youth who are more qualified.
He called for such situations to be avoided as the government strives to create the right and enabling environment for young entrepreneurs to thrive.
This was in response to a comment from the Minister of Finance Ken Ofori Atta who complained that there is a gap between what students learn in the various tertiary institutions and what they actually meet in the working world after graduating.
Ken Ofori-Atta said that employers are not able to find graduates with the skills set they[employers] are looking for to occupy specific positions.
As he delivered his speech at the 73rd Annual New Year School & Conference at the University of Ghana, the Minister admonished that there was the need for education acquired at the tertiary level to be in sync with industry needs especially in the face of rising unemployment among the youth.
He added that about 6.6 million young people would be ready for the job market in 2024 but unfortunately, the public sector is already full so there is the need for graduates to be trained to be able to venture into entrepreneurship.
“85% of the unemployed youth have just left secondary school, what do we do with them, how do we give them vocational training to be able to become productive citizens? Over 50% of tertiary degrees enrollment occur in fields with limited or no future growth, how do we resolve that in the way we teach our graduates?” he said.
Mr. Ofori-Atta called on the various tertiary institutions to pay more attention to the changes in the global economy and to align the training they give students. He emphasized the need to take advantage of the growing digital economy and train more information technology-savvy graduates.
“We have about 9 million people in a global economy that is driven by digitization, even though the jobs are in that direction we have less than a thousand graduates with IT-related skills every year from our tertiary universities. What has put the universities to sleep without realizing this major shift in where the world is going?” he observed.
He explained that there is also the need to address the situation where jobs are available but graduates are unable to take up the jobs because they do not have the skills.
“Employers are already feeling the pinch in the misalignment in our inadequacy of talent for their needs and therefore the drop in their looking for internships from our graduates. They report hard-to-fill positions despite high unemployment and we should be able to do something about that.”
But, Prof Gyampo did not agree with the Minister as he said “Our core mandate is to train people, train their minds so that their minds become so fertile to be able to fit into any other situation they find themselves.
“That is the reason why somebody studies Linguistics, philosophy and is able to get out of school and is able to head a bank.”
He added “As far as I am concerned we have several vocational training centres and they churn out students who still cannot find jobs. If you like let us now convert the universities into vocational training centres and see whether the students who go out will find the jobs.
“Rather than trying to put the blame on us, I think he should accept part of the blame by admitting the fact that they have not been also able to create that kind of environment that would enable people or entrepreneurs to survive.
“Anytime there are interventions for private key people who want to go into entrepreneurship, these interventions go to party foot soldiers, people who are completely clueless about setting up businesses, they are completely ignorant,” Prof. Gyampo stated.