I believe the problem is nativity, not ignorance. To elaborate on this, first of all, our academic system in Ghana which is supposed to be our ultimate tool for inevitable success in industry has failed us miserably, with the syllabus focusing more on other people’s abstract theories, neglecting the basic practical day to day interactions, necessary to survive in this competitive world. Here are some quotes from famous people on why our education system is a total catastrophe;
“Schools are designed on the assumption that there is a secret to everything in life; that the quality of life depends upon knowing that secret; that secrets can only be known in orderly successions; and that only teachers can properly reveal these secrets. An individual with a schooled mind conceives of the world as a pyramid of classified packages accessible only to those who carry the proper tags.” – Ivan Illich
“Our rapidly moving, information-based society badly needs people who know how to find facts rather than memorize them, and who know how to cope with change in creative ways. You don’t learn those things in school.” – Wendy Priesnitz
“Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school. It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education. ” – Albert Einstein
“There were no sex classes. No friendship classes. No classes on how to navigate a bureaucracy, build an organization, raise money, create a database, buy a house, love a child, spot a scam, talk someone out of suicide, or figure out what was important to me. Not knowing how to do these things is what messes people up in life, not whether they know algebra or can analyze literature.” – William Upski Wimsatt
Another sad situation is the relationship between graduate traffic from our various tertiary institutions to the number of fresh graduates the formal sector is ready to employ.
Data from the Institute of Statistics, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana, has revealed that only 10 percent of graduates 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 industry to absorb the huge numbers.
Mr. Kofi Asare, an Education Consultant, who gave the surprising statistics at the 2017 MasterCard Foundation Annual Learning Summit in Accra, said this had greatly contributed to the ascendancy in graduate unemployment in the country.
The summit, on the theme: “Preparing students for employment and Entrepreneurship: What Works?” seeks to find sustainable solutions to the findings of some commissioned researches on the topic to develop a smooth transition and support programmes for graduate employment and entrepreneurship for all school leavers.
He said in the scope of transition, about 7000 pupils are enrolled at the basic levels of education each year after which only 350, 000 are able to progress to secondary levels and of these 65,000 are able to gain admission to pursue high education whereas 60,000 graduate from tertiary institutions annually.
Mr. Asare said the situation called for critical attention and redress for ensuring a smooth transition for those who are able to graduate at the various levels of their education.
This has called for my attention to create a modern business consultancy that will attempt to solve the issue of graduate unemployment by attracting and securing funding from various foreign and local investors which will exploit and implement the copious ideas bore by these so-called unemployed graduates.
Today, there is growing evidence of a significant causal relationship between entrepreneurship, economic growth and poverty reduction. Small, micro and medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs) are often the backbone of the private sector in the developing world, creating jobs and providing a tax base for local government. SMMEs offer the only employment available to millions of poor people, yet many developing countries have been unable to create and maintain the favorable environment needed to foster SMMEs development (Bridges.org, 2002).
Entrepreneurship may be defined as the visualization and realization of new ideas by insightful individuals, who are able to use information and mobilize resources to implement their visions. This view does not require entrepreneurs to be highly skilled in generating new ideas but instead emphasizes promotion and implementation of radical change.
Why is entrepreneurship important for development?
The number of poor people on the planet is increasing exponentially and digital divide statistics show that technology is exacerbating the problem of inequity, not helping to alleviate it. There are now 1.2 billion people living in abject poverty out of the six billion on the planet. More people have lifted themselves out of poverty in the past 50 years than in the previous 500 years; but because the world population has grown so significantly, there are more poor people than ever before. Having a large percentage of the population thus exposed exacerbates the cycle of poverty and leaves national economies facing disaster, where a stable tax base is difficult to achieve and needed infrastructure difficult to build or maintain. Poverty and insecurity can lead to extremism, which threatens the safety and stability of everyone in every corner of the globe. Fostering the development of SMMEs to help people employ themselves and others may offer the best hope for breaking the poverty cycle in many developing countries and disadvantaged communities. The importance of entrepreneurship should not be underestimated, and the needs of this crucial sector must be understood to frame an effective and sustainable approach to modern development aid.
Challenges to entrepreneurship development in Ghana
According to Bridges.org (2002), the factors affecting entrepreneurial activity can generally be divided into four categories and these portray the exact situation in Ghana:
- Infrastructure: Quite often the barriers to starting and maintaining a business come down to simple, yet often insurmountable factors, such as lack of roads, facilities, electricity or phones.
Legal and regulatory framework: Governments need to have a positive perception of entrepreneurial activity, reduce the administrative burden on entrepreneurs, and coordinate among their agencies to ensure that the necessary resources are directed where they are needed.
Financial support: A major stumbling block for many potential entrepreneurs at the lowest end of the economic spectrum is lack of access to the credit or seed funding necessary to start a business. Entrepreneurs who are starting up larger businesses face difficulty raising investment capital and a lack of sound market-based policies.
4. Social: The concept of entrepreneurship is not native to every culture or society. The fear of failure can be a barrier. Creativity and innovation are not always valued traits. Ghana has social systems that create dependence and hopelessness. Women and minorities especially need role models to demonstrate the positive outcomes of innovation and risk-taking.
An additional barrier is an overarching mindset that entrepreneurship cannot be taught, that it is a creative and innovative way of thinking that comes inherently to some people and not to others. While it is true that some individuals are gifted with creativity to develop new ways of doing things, creativity alone is not sufficient. Ideas must be matched with basic skills and an understanding of business practices.
The way Forward
- LMA provides a comprehensive approach to promoting entrepreneurship on three levels-individuals, firm and society.
- We motivate individuals to become entrepreneurs, they are made aware of the concept of entrepreneurship. They will be equipped with the right skills to turn ambitions into successful ventures.
For entrepreneurial ventures to develop into healthy firms, supportive framework conditions are essential. These should allow firms to develop and grow, and not to unduly hinder contraction and exit.