Camfed Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organisation concerned with the promotion of female education, on Tuesday, organised its maiden research seminar under the MasterCard Foundation Scholar Programme.
It was to create a platform for the discussion of findings from four main research topics that were undertaken by various commissioned researchers, on the support systems and programmes that affected students’ ability to successfully progress through school and transition into gainful employment or entrepreneurship.
Presentations of the researchers were based on areas involving; Parental roles in their children’s education and shaping their aspirations; Youth unemployment issues and School-to-work transition; Exploring Public-Private academic partnerships; and a Case study of Ghana’s Ethics and Citizenship in University education and employability.
Mrs Dolores Dickson, the Regional Executive Director of Camfed Ghana, at the opening ceremony in Accra, said the seminar served as a precursor to the Organisation’s Annual Learning Summit, which comes off today, May 31, 2017, at the Institute for Statistical Social and Economic Research (ISSER), of the University of Ghana, Legon.
She said the Summit would be on the theme: “Preparing Students for Employment and Entrepreneurship: What Works?”
Therefore, the seminar would explore the challenges and opportunities for effective transition support in the schooling system, and assess the implications of the findings for new policies and practices that promoted successful progression and move of students within and beyond the education system, she said.
This, she said, was due to the fact that particular focus had been on research undertaken within the sub-Saharan African and Ghanaian contexts, where issues of inadequate in-school support and curricula design sometimes inhibited the sustainability of students to access employment opportunities or go into entrepreneurship ventures after graduation.
Mrs Dolores explained that the design of the transition programme was based on Camfed and MasterCard Foundation’s shared belief that further education, employment and entrepreneurship were some of the most viable pathways to economic security for the majority of young people.
She said it was expected that the presentations and discussions at the seminar would help to shape policy and stimulate further research in education.
Professor Felix Asante, the Director of ISSER, Legon, acknowledged that although preparing students for a smooth transition was crucial, he disagreed with the wrong public perception on the purpose of higher education that graduates did not have the requisite managerial and entrepreneurship capacities to transition into industry.
He said contrary to this, the purpose of higher education had changed and was no longer focused on just training graduates, but was equipping them with managerial and entrepreneurship skills as well, by the creation of an enabling environment for public-private partnership between industry and academia for effective outcomes.
Prof. Asante however said unlike managerial skills which could be taught at the higher educational level, entrepreneurship was a spirit that must be cultivated by an individual and nurtured with keen interest to grow, saying, it was not all graduates who had the passion to pursue such goals.
Mrs Joana A. Opare, a Consultant, and Dr Francis Annor also a Consultant and a Lecturer at the University of Ghana, sharing findings from their research on parental roles in shaping their children’s aspirations and life choices, said there were high involvement and influences, especially from parents with higher educational background, but a few gaps existed in the area of equality of gender roles.
They made some major recommendations such as the need to strengthen collaboration between school authorities and parents for career guidance and counselling, and also develop policy and programmes to address the issue of gender sensitivity in some vocations otherwise perceived as male or female preserves.