Professor William Baah-Boateng, Head, Department of Economics, University of Ghana, has called for a paradigm shift from the orthodox school examination to training students to think and solve problems.
Prof Baah-Boateng said the country has placed more emphasis on examination and certification to the neglect of the ability of students to be innovative and productive in the emerging competitive world of markets.
The Professor made the call in Accra at a National Youth Unemployment Dialogue in Accra organized by Star Ghana Foundation in collaboration with the National Youth Authority, Civil Society Platform Ghana, Youth Advocates Ghana and Ghana Think.
The forum was on the theme: “Addressing Youth Unemployment in Ghana: Strategies for Sustainability and Inclusivity”.
He said unemployment had remained a challenge in the country’s socio-economic space and a bane in African countries despite several conferences.
Prof Baah-Boateng noted that the country’s educational curriculum must focused on the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) courses than the social sciences to create productive and sustainable jobs for graduates.
He said the STEM course helps students develop skills and create wealth, but expressed concern about low patronage in offering such programmes.
He urged authorities to conduct thorough research to know the number of unemployed graduates in a specific field to serve as a guideline in addressing the problem.
Prof Baah-Boateng stated that unemployment becomes a political and security issues when chunk of the youth struggle to secure productive and sustainable jobs.
“Politicians often use the issue of unemployment as a campaign tool to come to power only to find out that the issue is more than what they anticipated”, he added.
The Professor stated that, the rate of unemployment between the ages of 15-24 in 2017 was 17.8 per cent, while the ages from 25-35 represented 8.0 per cent.
Touching on the reasons for unemployment, Prof Baah-Boateng attributed slower response of employment to economic growth, explaining that on average, a one per cent economic growth translate into 0.5 per cent employment growth between 1983 and 2013.
He said employment generation in the country mostly occurred in the informal sector, where earnings were low and dominated by women.
“The country is faced with low quality of labour and slow pace of development feeding into high informality, adding that only 10 per cent of the 16 million labour force had tertiary education”.
He urged government to focus on manufacturing, agriculture and the tourism sectors to transform the country’ economic growth and create employment for the teeming youth.
Ms Francesca Oteng-Mensah, Board Chair, National Youth Authority said the Authority had trained 5,000 youth in Information and Communication Technology to enhance and market their businesses on social media platform.
She said the Authority with the mandate to empower the youth, would organize training for youth in metal fabrication and street light repairs, urging the public to take advantage of the initiative to register and acquire hands-on skills.
Mr Yusif Mustapher, the Executive Director, National Service Scheme, said the scheme had developed new modules including poultry production and posting of personnel to their own businesses.
He said the Service had engaged with global partnership for exchange programmes where some national service personnel would have practical internship with international organisations and impact the knowledge acquired to benefit society.