Only one per cent of the student population below the age of 25 in Ghana are enrolled in Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET), according to the 2016 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report.
Released by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the report states that the country’s Gross Intake Rate (GIR) in tertiary education is 18 per cent, with a total of 402,000 students, representing 39 per cent enrolled in tertiary education.
Professor Yaw Ankomah, a former Director of the Institute for Education Planning and Administration (IEPA), University of Cape Coast (UCC), reading excerpts of the report during its launch, at Winneba, emphasised the need for a balance between academic work and vocational development to propel the country’s growth.
The GEM Report entitled: “Education for People and Planet”: Creating sustainable futures for all”, is a new series of reports used by UNESCO to monitor the state of education in the new framework of the Sustainable Development Goals.
It examines the complex interrelationships and links between education and key development sectors and also highlights education strategies, policies and programmes, which are most effectively linked to the economic, social, environmental and political priorities of the new sustainable development agenda.
Prof Ankomah said for education to be transformative in support of the new sustainable development agenda, it required a more deliberate and concerted efforts from all stakeholders to directly monitor lifelong learning opportunities, including adult education.
He said many of the high performing economies in the world had sizeable proportion of their youth enrolled in TVET programmes, and emphasised that Ghana needed to revolutionise TVET to be able to attain global competitiveness.
According to the report, 65 per cent of Ghanaian adults have primary education, with 54 per cent having Junior High School education.
Twenty-one per cent, it says, 21 per cent have Senior High School Education and only three per cent have tertiary education.
It also says 63 per cent of female adults in Ghana are illiterates as female enrolment at both the secondary and tertiary levels, as well as the inclusion of gender equality issues in education curriculum are still low.
The report, however, commends Ghana for showing strong commitment towards the funding of education as six per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is spent on the sector.
It recommends a major transformation of education such that it would be able to fulfill its purpose to propel progress towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Minister of Education, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, launching the report, said a National Action Plan for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda had been drafted by the Ministry and implored the stakeholders to make their input.
She called for effective collaboration between education stakeholders and the Ministry to ensure that the country achieved the SDGs on education.
The UN as part of its goals on education, requires nations to ensure that, “by 2030, all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes ;
“All girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education;
“By 2030 ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university;
“By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship; and
“By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations.”
Prof. Opoku-Agyemang noted that the tertiary education curriculum in the country ‘strict-pocketed students’ and expressed the worry that many students might not be able to get jobs in years to come as the job market was looking for flexibility.
She reminded faculties, departments and academic boards of what fundamental rigorous education meant and urged them to review their curriculum in the face of the changing landscape of employment.
She appealed to graduate and undergraduate students at the universities to conduct research into challenges in the education sector such that their findings spoke to specific issues and provided recommendations to specific challenges.
The President of UNESCO Ghana, Mr Tirso Dos Santo, said the report was an independent authoritative and evidence-based annual document, which had been produced since 2002.