Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta
A Professor at the University of Ghana, Ransford Gyampo has said the government must accept that it has not been able to create the enabling environment to support private individuals who will want to go into entrepreneurship.
Prof Gyampo was reacting to comments by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, who had overserved that there is a gap between what students learn in the universities and what industry requires of them when they graduate.
Mr Ofori Atta had indicated that employers are unable to find graduates with the skills sets they are looking for to occupy specific positions.
Speaking at 73rd Annual New Year School & Conference at the University of Ghana, the minister said there was the need for university training to be in sink with industry needs especially in the face of rising unemployment among the youth.
According to the minister, about 6.6 million young people would be ready for the job market in 2024 and that 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 also urged universities 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.
According to the Minister, 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 speaking in an interview with TV3, Prof Gyampo 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, Philosophies and is able to get out of school and is able to head a bank.”
He added “As far as I ma 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 on us 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