Mr. Ignatius Baffuor Awuah, Minister for Employment and Labour Relations has called on stakeholders to commence discussions on the transition pathways for the Senior High School leavers under the government’s Free SHS policy.
He said there was the need for frank, open and non-partisan discussions to determine the fate of secondary school leavers under the government’s flagship programme, who would start leaving secondary school from 2020.
The Minister made the call in a speech read on his behalf at the 2019 Mastercard Foundation Scholars Programme Learning Summit on the theme: Supporting Young People’s Livelihoods: Exploring Post-Secondary School Opportunities.
The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Programme Learning summit, which started in 2014, is a ten-year partnership between the Mastercard Foundation and Campaign for Female Education(CAMFED) Ghana, aimed at bringing together stakeholders to discuss pertinent issues that will contribute to socio-economic development in Ghana.
Mr. Baffuor Awuah said although the preferred pathway for the secondary school leavers would be further education in tertiary institutions; the reality does not show same considering the number of tertiary institutions in the country.
He said, assuming the current capacity remains the same, the tertiary institutions in the country would lack the capacity to admit the secondary school leavers considering that prior to the introduction of the Free SHS policy, less than 20 per cent of senior high school leavers were able to enrol in tertiary institutions.
Mr. Baffuor Awuah said government alone cannot solve the unemployment challenges facing the youth in the country, hence government’s commendation of organisations such as the Campaign for Female Education and the Mastercard Foundation.
He said various interventions of the aforementioned institutions in education and women’s empowerment had positively affected the lives of many girls and young women.
He said the Ministry would continue to work and collaborate with CAMFED in creating employment and livelihood opportunities for the youth, adding that, the Ministry’s doors were open to CAMFED and other development partners for consultations and information sharing.
Mr. John Asibi Ali, the National Director of CAMFED Ghana said the Summit was the sixth of its kind and was focused at assisting young people’s livelihoods through the exploration of post-secondary school opportunities.
He said the summit had always been able to bring stakeholders and all interested parties together to discuss issues that contributed to socio–economic development and had also provided a platform for agenda setting.
Mr. Ali said outcome of engagements and working collaboration over the past six years, had seen the development of a number of significant documents such as “a five-year Guidance and Counselling Strategic Plan in schools” and “A Civic Education Handbook for pre-tertiary students.”
Ms. Diana Apostolides, the Programme Manager at Mastercard Foundation said youth employment in Africa could not be solved by one organisation, adding that, it was the reason why the Foundation works together with young people to drive the change for transformation.
She said the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Programme Learning Summit was a reflection of the commitment of collaboration, bringing together key stakeholders in education, employment and youth empowerment every year.