Labour economist, Dr. William Baah Boateng, has urged government to be deliberate about pushing its educational policy if it is serious about harnessing the nation’s manpower for development.
Speaking at a forum organised by the Ghana Employers’ Association in Accra yesterday on the future of work and skills development, Dr. Baah Boateng said that though it was good that government was implementing the Free Senior High School Policy, it would be more prudent if government emphasized Science, Vocational and Technical training.
He said that the Ghanaian economy in its current state is a rudderless one, where there is no deliberate government policy to direct its trajectory.
According to him, “everything is about policy. If the policy says this is where we are going, and the economy changes and becomes more manufacturing based, then you’ll need to train more people. Government needs to do more investments in that. ”
Because of this, he said research has proven that most of the jobs advertised are in the business, and social sciences, because the Ghanaian economy is a service economy, and this has fed into the arts-centric nature of the Ghanaian school system where about 47% of Ghanaian students at the university are into the arts and humanities.
Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Employers Association, Alex Frimpong, admonished students who are aspiring to enter the world of work to note that technology is gradually taking centre stage and it is important that they recognize this trend in their bid to find jobs.
He stated that “those who tend to lose their jobs are those whose skills are easily replaced. For instance, the labourers on our campuses can be replaced if management decide to use tractors to clear the weeds.”
“The teachers will do their part, but you have a responsibility to ensure that you stay afloat. Times are changing,” he stressed.
According to the CEO, “your career development is in your own hands as an employee. The difference between employees is in their attitude. Those who thrive are those with positive attitude.”
Executive Director of the Council for Technical and Vocational Educational and Training, said that “the possession of skill and training are integral to the success of any entrepreneurial venture.”
He warned that Government’s ‘One District, One Factory’ programme would not succeed if there are no skilled persons to work in them. To this end he said Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is integral to the development of the country.
He advised employers to recognize that” the world of work is changing, so you need to find a workforce who are changing to meet the world market and what is changing.”