KNUST alumni set to tackle unemployment
KNUST Alumni (Teknokrats), the Association of past students of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology has set its sights on helping to manage Ghana’s unemployment challenge.
This crusade is clearly reflected in the Alumni Association’s 7th Biennial National Congress theme: “Reducing Graduate Unemployment: the role of Teknokrats.” The Congress is slated for Koforidua from October 11th–14th, 2012.
The issue of graduate unemployment is a huge national challenge that needs priority attention. Ghana’s population has a youthful structure constituting about one out of every four of the population.
The rising levels of unemployment can largely be attributed to the inability of the economy, government and employers to create sufficient jobs to absorb the growing numbers in the labour market.
What compounds the problem is that there are no updated data on the unemployment rate and the (profile) characteristics of the unemployed in the country. The Ghana Statistical Service is yet to release data on the current unemployment rate and profile in the country.
Professor Ernest Aryeetey, an eminent Economist and Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, at the launch of ISSER’s 2011 report on the state of the economy argues that chronic joblessness is the biggest weakness facing Ghana’s fast-growing economy.
He goes on to state that one gets an inkling of the pervasiveness of the problem from the huge numbers of youth that line the streets “selling things nobody will buy.”
Unemployment is also rife among university graduates, he notes, adding: “half of the graduates who leave the country’s universities do not find a job during the (first) two years after their national service — and one-fifth are without a job for a third year.”
Authors from the AfDB, the OECD Development Centre and two United Nations organisations wrote in a foreword to the recently-launched African Economic Outlook 2012 as follows: “Creating productive employment for Africa’s rapidly-growing young population is an immense challenge, but also the key to future prosperity.”
The report estimates the unemployment rate among youth aged 15 to 24 in Ghana at 25.6%; twice that of the 25-44 age group and three times that of the 45-64 age group. It said the youth account for 60% of the unemployed in Africa.
Tony Danklu, KNUST Alumni National President bemoaned the rising graduate unemployment rate in the country and calls on all stakeholders to give the issue priority attention. He noted that while the government and employers will be expected to play their part, graduates should also explore the possibility of setting up their own businesses.
“Entrepreneurship should feature prominently on the agenda. The most obvious form of entrepreneurship is that of starting new businesses (referred to as Start-up Company),” he noted. “In order for this to happen, regulatory reforms would be needed to drive entrepreneurship, and the cost of doing business would have to be lowered. Government will need to take some tough decisions involving compromises and trade-offs.”
“The congress will make concrete recommendations to government on how to tackle the unemployment challenges”, he concluded.
Collins Obeng-Marnu the Alumni Association’s National Vice President observed that “the public sector is the largest employer in Ghana, therefore, any plans at resolving the issue of unemployment should take into account the role of government in introducing policies that positively impact on the labour and productivity”
He said, “KNUST as an institution and the alumni will continue to work with stakeholders to seek avenues and provide a platform for its members and stakeholders to discuss ways of resolving the unemployment challenge.”
The Objectives of KNUST Alumni, apart from creating a platform to bring to the fore issues of national concern from time to time, also seeks to renew old acquaintances and foster networking; to participate actively in the administration of the University through representation on the University Council and its statutory bodies or committees; to mobilise resources (human, financial and material) in support of the University and to build the Alumni Jubilee Hostel to ease student accommodation on campus.
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