Looking For Success (Ghana, education, africa, citizenship, gender. poverty


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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 will re-examine 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 will assess 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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Looking For Success (Ghana, education, africa, citizenship, gender. poverty

  1. 1. Looking for Success Across Ghana’s Skilled Youth Population Robert Palmer, Roland Akabzaa, Leslie Casely-Hayford and Benedicta Sackey 16 September 2009
  2. 2. Context <ul><li>Ongoing TVET Reform in Ghana (since Sept 2007). E.g. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tech/voc/agric skills in upper-secondary </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More voc/tech institutes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Formalise informal apprenticeship </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ New” NDC govt. continuing with this & very keen on TVET. </li></ul><ul><li>TVET policy-making in past largely not driven by evidence, but by politics and long-held, recurring assumptions about the school-skill-work links. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Issue Addressed <ul><li>But some in Ministries (& TVET Council) who want more evidence on how TVET can be made more relevant to poor & want to learn from “success” stories to inform policy thinking. </li></ul><ul><li>[Whether this desire for evidence from civil servants will be heard by politicians and the Cabinet is another story…] </li></ul><ul><li>This qualitative research investigates the pathways young people use to escape poverty via skills training and work, and the role of education in this process. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Methodology <ul><li>Data from 4 sites - collected 2006-08 </li></ul><ul><li>About 140 interviews: i n-depth interviews young people (n=80) who acquired skills; key informants; vocational training institute profiling (not reported in this paper) </li></ul><ul><li>Purposely selected 14 (out of 80) young artisans based on criteria of “success” </li></ul>
  5. 5. Skill Pathways for Youth <ul><li>Majority of youth </li></ul><ul><li>“ Success group” (this paper) </li></ul>Basic education or less Informal apprenticeship Basic education (or less) Upper secondary Formal TVET (for theory) Informal apprenticeship (for practical) Formal TVET (for theory) Informal apprenticeship (for practical) Combination Combination
  6. 6. Effect of education on the acquisition of technical / vocational skills (1) <ul><li>Entry requirement for most formal TVET (basic education certificate) – especially a problem in north and for girls </li></ul><ul><li>Formal (NVTI) certification @ end of training. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Formal TVET – Full trade test (written & practical) vs proficiency test (practical only). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Informal apprenticeship – only a fraction of take tests, more educated more likely to. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Effect of education on the acquisition of technical / vocational skills (2) <ul><li>3. Education levels among informal apprentices </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Know that most (75%) are basic ed graduates, but issue of educational fragmentation has not been highlighted </li></ul></ul><ul><li>4. Accessing more modern trade areas </li></ul><ul><li>5. Faster learners </li></ul>
  8. 8. Effect of education on the utilization of technical / vocational skills <ul><ul><li>Access to formal employment through certification </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Full trade test & upper secondary certificates </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Access to contracts (for self-employed) through certification </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communicating with customers (esp. English) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Attract, maintain & access to higher-order customers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Undertaking workplace tasks that demand a degree of literacy and numeracy in order for products/services to be of good quality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Entrepreneurial sense, lifelong learning, networking, vision and goal-setting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gender disadvantage: Family, marriage, childbirth displaces women – loss of customers, time, earnings etc </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Other Factors in Relation to “Making it” as an Artisan <ul><li>Providing good quality services and products to customers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Doesn’t necessary depend on education level </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But education can help improve quality </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Engaging in multiple income-generating activities (& skills usage P/T in rural areas) </li></ul><ul><li>Determination, and interest in learning skills </li></ul>
  10. 10. Realities <ul><li>Quantitative evidence: apprenticeship training does not lead to higher earnings when compared to those without apprenticeship. But… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>… there are >700k people doing informal apprenticeships – 60% aged 15-24 yrs (10 x no. in all pub/priv VTIs) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… poorest youth are almost 20 x more likely to be doing informal apprenticeship than formal TVET (GLSS 2005/06) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Clearly, govt. has an incentive to try to improve apprenticeships. </li></ul><ul><li>Typical pathway for poor youth has been thro’ apprenticeship & our “success” stories have shown that it takes a combo of formal & informally acquired TVET to make entrepreneurs successful. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Implications for Policy (1) <ul><li>Improve the quality of learning outcomes of basic education – key role in skill utilisation; </li></ul><ul><li>Improve informal apprenticeship quality – accreditation; tailored + generalised interventions (to combat negative perceptions); incentives ; </li></ul>
  12. 12. Implications for Policy (2) <ul><li>3. Strengthen skill-to-enterprise transition; </li></ul><ul><li>e.g.1. Not give away “starter-kits” (unsustainable), but develop innovative lending approaches (e.g. mutual guarantee approach) and innovative business support approaches </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. 2. encourage multiple ventures. </li></ul><ul><li>With 9/10 new jobs created in the informal economy, “demand-driven” training needs to take account of informal economy . </li></ul>
  13. 13. Looking for Success across Ghana’s Skilled Youth Population Contact emails: Robert Palmer: rob.palmer@norrag.org Leslie Casely-Hayford (AFC): comdev9@yahoo.com 16 September 2009
  14. 14. What was the criteria of “success”? <ul><li>Defined by respondents and interviewers’ observations. Included: </li></ul><ul><li>Being able to make improvements in the quality of life for self and family (food, shelter, clothing, health, school costs, savings, business expansion); </li></ul><ul><li>Being able to fulfil social obligations and support extended family - which leads to increase in respect; </li></ul><ul><li>Being able to marry and form a family. </li></ul>