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General News of Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Source: The Chronicle

Varsity graduates half-baked – Nii Moi Thompson

The National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) has criticized Ghana’s educational system, especially our universities, saying the best it does is to churn out half-baked graduates, who cannot help in the nation’s development agenda.

According to the Commission, the quality of education in the country today is so poor, saying it is the reason why Ghanaian graduates are unable to get jobs when they leave school.

Interacting with members of the media at a seminar organized by the NDPC and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Accra last week Friday, a Director of the NDPC and a presidential staffer, Nii Moi Thompson bemoaned the current state of our educational system and called for a radical change.

Dr. Thompson noted that the only way to get the youth to fuel economic growth and development is to identify the economy’s skill gaps and address them holistically.

He suggested that a new educational policy framework that would be appropriate for the youth should be put in place, since Ghana has a very youthful population that is unemployed or under-employed.

Dr. Thompson added that the system must be strengthened to ensure that when young people complete tertiary institutions, they should be able to acquire the necessary skills and expertise to enable them find jobs on the market.

“The Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA) has well-thought out policy directions and strategies that are indeed far reaching.

“We have also often expressed the concern that we should have some clearly outlined priorities to match the resources available,” Dr. Thompson noted. Deliberating on the theme; “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend”, Dr. Thompson said Ghana’s population is changing in ways that could be highly advantageous to national development, adding that over the past five decades Ghana has witnessed a gradual change from a youthful population with a working age of between 15-59 years.

With the working age population now exceeding the population of non-working age, the current population structure presents real potential for reaping demographic dividend and Ghana has a distinct opportunity to build up its resources to maximize its economic growth, he explained.

Dr. Thompson indicated that youthful population presents unique opportunities and challenges for a country’s development effort and that was why Ghana has ensured that issues of population have been integrated in the successive national development policy frameworks.

Dr. Pearl Kyei, from the Regional Institute of Population Studies, University of Ghana, speaking on behalf of Dr. Fred Dzanku, from the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research of the University of Ghana, Legon, said population growth by itself was neither good nor bad, since it is a natural phenomenon.

She disclosed that even though the fertility rate has reduced from six children per woman over the last five decades to four children per woman currently, adding studies have shown that high fertility makes it less likely for households to escape poverty.

“So although fertility reduction is not sufficient for poverty reduction it is a necessary condition,” Dr. Kyei added.

She explained that reduction in child birth always have direct impact and benefit for the family, as it reduces the dependency ratio of persons.

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