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Opinions of Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Columnist: Bernice Owusuwaa

Increasing Tertiary Graduations: Is it necessary with current employment conditions?

Every year, there are thousands of students in Ghana and globally who graduate from either public or private tertiary institutions. During this period, you will always hear shouts of congratulations and good will messages to these fresh graduates.

A write-up by Hassan, campus news on November 7, 2014 indicates that, the University of Ghana, Legon, alone, passed out 4,172 students this year; these students mostly not aware of what life and their country has in stock for them, nevertheless are expectant of a brighter future ahead.

On November 14, this year, I happened to be part of the fresh graduates of 2014 from one of the best tertiary communication schools in Ghana, which also passed out about 1,500 students.

Just like me, in the minds of about 70% percent of the fresh graduates, it is always their thought that when out of school, they expect to get a well paying job, advance to get a property, and get married to the love of their lives and live happily ever after with their beautiful kids. More interestingly, added to these goals are targeted period they set for the achievement of each goal.

This beautiful dream of these graduates might have to be on hold as the government is still holding on to the “Operation No Jobs for people into the government sector until 2016.”

Unfortunately, the formal sector, the preferred job destination for most graduates are not enough to absorb the growing population of graduates passing out of tertiary institution every year.

This will increase the dependency ratio in the country as most will still have to depend on family, relations and friends for survival.

This situation not only peculiar to Ghana but has been a global challenge, hence my question, how necessary is the increasing number of tertiary graduations to the county’s employment issues? Is the country meeting its goal of solving graduate unemployment?

A report by Daily Guide’s Emelia Ennin Abbey on February 18, 2010 stated government's embargo on employment into the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA); a move aimed at cutting the soaring public sector wage bills.

Another confirmation of NO JOBS IN 2015 by the government report was stated on Wednesday November, 19, 2014 by Hon. Seth Terkper, the Finance Minister. He disclosed this in the 2015 annual budget statement he presented to parliament.

According to him, “Government would pursue the continuation of the policy of net freeze on employment into all sectors of the public services (excluding education and health).

The above indicates that, the employment situation currently is very critical in the country hence graduates will have to depend on the private sector for employment. But are there also enough private companies to absorb these job seekers?

This situation has made and will make life very unbearable for freshest graduates and job seekers who imagined their challenges was to end next year; having the hopes of being employed by the government.

So, is it necessary for tertiary institutions to continue passing out graduates into the job market where there are no jobs for them? Are they supposed to increase the number of graduates unemployed in the country or they are to cause a change to the employment conditions in the country.

All is not necessarily doom and gloom for fresh graduates, it is very essential that students who pass out of school apply the knowledge and skills obtained and not necessarily have to depend on either private or government to be employed, to impact their communities; thus fitting them into the employment sector.

The social sciences and virtually practical courses offered by the institutions are meant to be platforms for graduates to keep themselves busy by starting up their own interest works and not necessarily have to depend on the government solely for employment; this in a way will reduce the graduate unemployment situation in the country.

In respect to whether the government is meeting its goal of solving graduate unemployment situation in the country, how can a country solve its unemployment conditions by not employing job seekers into the government sector for some years.

I think the country’s unemployment situation will grow worse until the government starts employing qualified people into its various sectors.

In conclusion, I will urge my other fresh graduates and all other job seekers to start investing their time in doing something beneficial for themselves as well as impacting the society.

For this is the time where as a youth, we do not have to only look up to what the government can offer us but rather what we can do and do it best in bettering ours and the life of others.