Data from the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana, has revealed that only 10 per cent of graduates find jobs after their first year of completing school.
The study data also indicated that it may, therefore, take up to 10 years for a large number of graduates to secure employment due to varied challenges that ranged from the lack of employable skills, unavailability of funding capital for entrepreneurship, poor attitudes of graduates towards job opportunities, as well as the low capacities of industry to absorb the huge numbers.
Mr Kofi Asare, an Education Consultant, who gave the surprising statistics at the 2017 MasterCard Foundation Annual Learning Summit in Accra, said this had greatly contributed to the ascendancy in graduate unemployment in the country.
The summit, on the theme: “Preparing students for employment and Entrepreneurship: What Works?” seeks to find sustainable solutions to the findings of some commissioned researches on the topic to develop a smooth transition and supportive programmes for graduate employment and entrepreneurship for all school leavers.
He said in the scope of transition, about 7000 pupils were enrolled at the basic levels of education each year after which only 350, 000 were able to progress to secondary levels and of these 65,000 were able to gain admission to pursue high education where as 60,000 would graduate from tertiary institutions.
Mr Asare said the situation called for critical attention and redress of both issues of school drop-outs and ensuring a smooth transition for those who were able to graduate at the various levels of their education.
In his recommendations, therefore, on a scoping study of Ghana’s educational system, Mr Asare urged government to ensure the strengthening of coordination of institutional interventions that were expected to provide transitional support to graduates.
He said there was the need for government to also provide reliable funding sources for students’ transit to employment interventions as none of the existing transition projects currently gave start-ups to fresh graduates, fearing about 90 per cent of such businesses may collapse before the end of their first year.
Mr Asare urged government to institute a national policy on internship where even graduate students on vacation could find something to do during their long vacations and gain some experiences rather than idling about.
He made other recommendations including the provision of incentives such as positive grants and tax reliefs by government for industry so that they could support the internship policy to train graduates for their smooth transition after school; ensure proper targeting of entrepreneurship programmes; and ensure transparency and fairness in managing transition interventions.
Mr Asare said although there were several transition programmes run under the various government institutions and agencies including the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, the National Vocational and Technical Institute (NVTI), Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET), Youth Enterprises Support (Office of the President), and the Youth Employment Authority, they had not yielded the required maximum outcomes.
He said some of these programmes had not yielded much due to the lack of coordination and the virtual neglect of tertiary graduate transition in favour of that of junior high school leavers.
Mr Asare identified the politicisation of access to scholarship and other funding sources, the lack of statutory support for industrial partnerships, and the low level of institutional linkages among Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies with the Ghana Education Service as a huge impediment to the smooth transition of students.
Mr David Nkrumah-Boateng, the Head of Impact, Camfed Ghana, said graduate unemployment was not only becoming a national issue but a security threat and believed that the research would help inform policy directions for better development outcomes.