For the teeming hundreds of youths who complete the various programmes at our universities, over ninety per cent hope to join the TELCOS, the banking institutions and insurance companies and other white-collar professions.
Out of that huge train, we still have a host of them who would be struggling for slots in the Civil Service as well as public sector jobs like the security agencies and the state revenue mobilisation institutions.
Unfortunately, for most of these institutions, while you are obliged to apply by picking application forms that come with a cost, not everybody is fortunate to access that opportunity.
With the irresistible urge to try the available options, applicants end up paying and paying, with little hope that the teaching or nursing and security agency jobs would come handy. That is aside of the limited numbers that the private sector would take, including education, manufacturing, construction and the hospitality industries.
As a result of that pressure on the state, particularly, to deliver on employment, those pressures mount up to levels that attract political propaganda, even when the jobs are not readily available.
From the Ghana Armed Forces and the Ghana Police Service, Immigration and the Prisons, through the Forestry Commission to the Ministries and the Ghana Revenue Authority, particularly the Customs Division, the pressure gets to a boiling point. This compels the politician to employ allocation or protocol strategies to minimise the challenges of satisfying all constituencies and regional blocs.
The pressure is ignited to horrendous proportions when it assumes political fights among political stakeholders, with threats from one party to undo processes that one administration had already begun.
It turns out that the noisiest party in that propaganda fight is the guiltiest in destabilising employment processes already in place by the previous government.
The way forward
For decades now, the challenge by stakeholders is how to put in place strategies that swallow the huge population that our universities churn out.
Thus, until a solution is found, this phenomenon will continue to pose challenges to every administration, unless we engineer clear strategies and programmes in minimising the trend.
We therefore understand the Minister of Education when he laments about the raging issue. As a sector Minister, confronted daily with the issue of taking up backlogs of trained teachers each year, the burning issue is always how to ensure that boys and girls hungry for employment would not turn up during election period to cause problems for the incumbent administration.
As he himself advocates, it is time for all stakeholders to find a common ground to deal with the nagging issue. Of course, every youth would first aspire to work in a government facility where he would find security and satisfaction than a private institution where he or she is likely to be underpaid – and without social security.
Again, as he himself points out, it is now up to the institutions and the students to commit themselves to programmes and academic initiatives that would make them more marketable, and that would also keep them less dependent on state institutions permanently for jobs that are not available immediately or may even be available tomorrow.
It is in this vein that we endorse the call for the building of a brigade of future workforce that will truly deliver on industry and development, without taking government to ransom over creation of jobs.
As far as humanly possible, however, we must admit that government has had to bend over backwards in the last five years to deliver chunks of employment under painstaking initiatives. Under the circumstances, these were interim measures.
Going into the future, the public and, we believe, students and academia, must come to the realisation that a link from the classroom with industry is the best connect to job creation and industrialisation.