|The Role of Technical and Vocational Education in the Educational System in Ghana (UNEVOC, 1994, 46 p.)|
Improvements in the quality of human resources are crucial to the economic, social and political development of any country. Education and training, which are the major means of developing human resources, influence socio-economic development because they increase the productivity of the labour force and endow it with increased knowledge and skills. Individuals with higher education are regarded as being more productive; hence they are offered better employment and wage opportunities than individuals with low education. Also people with a high level of education tend to have greater motivation to work than people with little or no education. Finally, education and training provide employment and income-earning opportunities for teachers, school workers, printing and publishing industry, school uniform manufacturers, etc..., and they create an environment for changing social attitudes relevant to economic development.
To help maintain the economy of Ghana on the path of steady growth and to improve the social and political life of the people, therefore, there is the need to develop her human resources.
Since the mid-1960s, however, there have been two major problems relating to human resource development in the country, namely:
i) lack of skilled personnel in certain critical areas of the economy; and
ii) surplus in certain categories of skills due partly to a decrease of employment opportunities in the formal sector.
There is growing unemployment among the educated in the formal sector because growth in job openings has not kept pace with the number of new entrants into the labour market for the educated. There is at the same time a persistent shortage of occupational and technical skills in many areas of the economy, especially in the public sector, which has, to some extent, made it impossible for certain programmes for the effective management of the economy to be undertaken. This has resulted from the formal educational system which, by emphasizing the study of academic subjects without any preparation for a job, did not adequately serve the socio-economic needs of the individual, of the society in which he lives, nor of the country as a whole.
Three major means can be applied to counteract these problems, namely:
i) formal education and training in educational institutions from the first-cycle to the tertiary level;
ii) non-formal education comprising mainly adult literacy programmes and skills development programmes; and
iii) informal training comprising the apprenticeship system, extension services and education through the mass media including newspaper, journals, radio and TV.
Further to these problems, financial resources have since the late 1960s been increasingly scarce in relation to the demand for places at all levels for all forms of education due to rapid population growth and the demands on the resources of the country.
It is the realization of the above deficiencies, among others in the former educational system that has prompted the Government of Ghana to reform the entire educational system from the primary to the tertiary level. It is expected that the on-going educational reforms will result in the provision of quality education that will fulfil the goals and aspirations of pupils and students and at the same time meet the socio-economic needs of the country.