Stakeholders have called for effective collaboration between industries and academia for development of curricula of enhancing the employability skills of graduates to reduce the current rise in graduate unemployment.

Data by Institute of Statistics, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana states that only 10 per cent of graduates in Ghana find jobs after their first year of completing school.

The data also indicated that it may take up to 10-years for a large number of graduates to secure employment due to varied challenges that ranged from the lack of employable skills, unavailability of funding capital for entrepreneurship, poor attitudes of graduates towards job opportunities, as well as the low capacities of industries to employ the graduates.

At a Public Lecture organized by the Alumni Association of Koforidua Technical University, KTU, on the theme: Bridging the gap between Academia and Industry: Role of KTU Alumni” the speakers called for close collaboration between industry and academia on curricula development and practical training of students.

Prof. Prince Boateng, Dean of Faculty of Built and Natural Environment at KTU, called for periodic review of the curricula to meet timely industrial needs, and a  joint training and  certification by universities and Industry to graduates.

“We need to revise our curricula. We need the involvement of the industrial practitioners in the curricula development. We are doing it but personally I think it is not enough so we need them there so that what they require from the students or graduates when they finish and they come to the industry. That is why I proposed joint certification for certain selected programs even on a pilot basis so before the students get to the industry then they will be easily recognized and getting into the job market will not be difficult for the graduates” Prof. Prince Boateng said.

He also proposed that “we also need them [industry players] to come on board. They should come and take lectures. Even if it is two or three hour lectures in a particular area of field it is very important. It shouldn’t be the same lecturer but the professionals also should come and then come and teach. They should also come out with problems that they are having. Then they allocate some money and we can use them to do research because the students are very curious.

Dr. Robert Tay Deputy Director in charge of procurement at DVLA partly blamed the poor quality of tertiary education system to political interference.

He said the academia must be given space to operate and develop curricula tailor made for the industrialization drive of the country.

Eastern Regional Minister Seth Kwame Acheampong reiterated government commitment to TVET education to provide the necessary human resources required for industrialization of Ghana’s economy.

He appealed to universities to liaise with industry to conduct applied research that will yield practical benefit to society.

The President of Koforidua Technical University (KTU) Alumni Association Mr. Agbodo Kobla Godsway said the association will continue to advance various interventions to bridge the gap between academia and industry since Ghana’s educational system in its current form produces graduates with theoretical knowledge without industrial skilled set.

According to Mr. Kobla Godsway, the zeal to drive this agenda requires the drafting of a national policy on education by technocrats which bans politicians from interfering into educational policies and its related activities.

“Trying to shift the minds of our younger generation into thinking out of the box. Shifting the minds of academia into looking at the requirements of industry. They won’t just give us courses to study which cannot impact the industry. So now, we need to work on that. That’s what we hope to achieve. The regional minister was there and he represents the political elite community whilst our deans and HODs represented there as well, we also have young entrepreneurs like one of my mates who is into logistics he is an international logistics guy very well to do with a lot of employees under his leaves so basically all these people came together so that we can make headway”.

Source: Ghana/ Ansah