The escalating rate of graduate unemployment in Ghana has raised substantial national security concerns, with Yaw Osafo Maafo, Senior Presidential Advisor to President Akufo-Addo, highlighting the shift from practical skills training to theory-based learning as a significant contributing factor.
Expressing his apprehension, Maafo remarked, “Every time I assess tertiary education, I feel uneasy.” He noted the proliferation of universities, which has risen from five to nearly 100 in just 15 years, leading to a shortage of hands-on skills. This, Maafo cautioned, could have severe repercussions for both the workforce and national security.
Maafo also criticized the prevalent emphasis on humanities courses at the expense of technical programs across Ghana’s universities. He asserted, “Transforming from five to approximately 100 universities in about 15 years, and not having a single technical university, is concerning.”
Commending Education Minister Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum’s initiative to introduce pre-engineering programs for students without a science background, Maafo underlined the necessity of a profound shift in the education system. He urged stakeholders, particularly the government and churches, to collaboratively address these challenges.
“Unemployment is a severe issue that is evolving into a security challenge; we must address it,” Maafo emphasized.
Speaking at the 23rd General Meeting of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana in Kwahu Abetifi, Maafo spotlighted the crucial role of the church in education. He called for joint efforts between the government and churches to confront the issues confronting Ghana’s education system, emphasizing the Presbyterian Church’s extensive expertise and influence in the domain.
According to Trading Economics’ analysis, Ghana’s unemployment rate is projected to reach 5.00 percent by the close of 2023. The long-term prediction indicates a trajectory around 4.70 percent in 2024 and 4.50 percent in 2025.
The 2022 Annual Household Income and Expenditure Survey (AHIES) Third Quarter Labour Statistics by Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) disclosed that roughly 1.76 million individuals were unemployed in the third quarter of 2022. The volatility in employment, with approximately 3.5 million people transitioning in and out of employment over three quarters, underscores the challenges within Ghana’s labor market.
Maafo’s call for collective action to address graduate unemployment and align the education system with the nation’s demands underscores the urgency of finding sustainable solutions for Ghana’s workforce and security.