Looking for Success across Ghana’s skilled youth population: implications for policy and education reform

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Robert Palmer (presenter), University of Edinburgh, Rolland Akabzaa, and Leslie Casely-Hayford, Associates for Change, Ghana

 In Ghana, poverty reduction and youth employment have been explicit priorities of successive governments and political parties. Ghana’s new government in 2009 is likely to re-emphasise these priorities, especially in the light of the global financial crisis, which is expected to impact on Ghana’s growth, poverty reduction and employment creation prospects. 

Between 2001 and 2008, the government increasingly saw technical and vocational skills development (in schools, in vocational training institutes, in short-duration programmes and on-the-job in informal apprenticeship training) and the need to create an enabling environment for private sector development (PSD) as critical to their employment creation and poverty reduction agendas. However, skills policy in Ghana tends – as during earlier governments – to be driven more by assumptions, quick fixes and political pressure rather than by any real evidence base, and PSD policy tends to be more concerned with the small formal economy, rather than the informal economy where most people are working.

This paper re-examines the skills, education and poverty reduction links by analyzing recently published quantitative data, and draw on new qualitative data – collected between 2006-2008 from four sites in Ghana as part of the DFID-funded Research Consortium on the Educational Outcomes and Poverty (RECOUP). It assesses the contribution that formal and informal technical and vocational skills training can make in helping youth transit out of poverty and draw on success stories of 15 young people from Ghana.

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