Youth Unemployment As Result Of Obsession For Certificates – Prof. Baah-Boateng

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Professor William Baah Boateng
Professor William Baah Boateng

Ghana must tailor its education system to equip graduates with modern employable skills, Professor William Baah-Boateng, the Head of the Economics Department of the University of Ghana has said

He said focus must be placed innovation and technology to make students competitive on the job market.

Prof. Baah-Boateng who made the call during a presentation on youth development, said Ghana’s current education system does not challenge students to be innovative and problem-solvers.

He the country must place emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education to make the youth relevant in the technologically driven future and contribute to national development.

“This suggestion should start from the basic level with emphasis on Mathematics, and creativity as the case in developed and emerging economies…this calls for a change of mindset on the part of teachers, students, parents and indeed all stakeholders to disabuse our minds from mathematics as a difficult subject,” he said.

Prof Baah-Boateng was speaking at the 14th National Development Forum organised by the National Development Planning Commission (NPDPC) in Accra last Wednesday.

It was on the theme:  “The future of Ghana’s youth: challenges and opportunities.”

Prof. Baah-Boateng said though Ghana had recorded significant improvements in access to secondary and tertiary education, unemployment was rife among the educated than the uneducated.

He observed that young person who had attained secondary and tertiary education mostly focused on the formal sector for employment and disregarded opportunities in the informal sector.

Prof. Baah-Boateng emphasized that the country’s economy over the past decade had not seen an expansion of the formal sector to be able to absorb the number of graduates that entered the job market annually.

“While acknowledging the rising educational level of the youth in terms of quantity, quality of education remains a problem. The youth is becoming more obsessed with certificates as against using the certificate to do something,” he said.

The 2021 Population and Housing Census (PHC) conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) suggests that more than 1.55 million people or 13.4 per cent of Ghana’s economically active population are out of work — as compared to the of 5.3 per cent jobless rate recorded in the 2010 census.

The World Bank in 2016 projected that Ghana would have to create at least 300,000 new jobs annually to absorb the increasing number of unemployed people given the country’s growing youth population.

Prof. George Gyan-Baffour, the Chairman of NDPC, pointed out that it was important for the country to take stock of investments that had been made in the past to address youth unemployment and redirect those efforts to educational orientations that would harness the potential of young people to create individual opportunities and strengthen the country’s economy,

“The inability of the youth to have opportunities that allow them hone-in their skills, develop their potentials and talents to realise their aspirations creates a desperate situation, such that it becomes a threat to their survival and nation building”, he said.

 

Dr Anthony Yaw Baah, Secretary-General, Trades Union Congress, said the future of the youth lied on the ability of the country to create decent jobs, adding that: “A great future for our youth will not happen by chance and we need to plan for their future.”

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