Message to fresh university graduates


“Until the lions get their own historians, the tales of hunting will always favour the hunter.”

The menace about unemployment and for that matter graduate unemployment has been over “statisticalised” by our politicians and people who graduated some decades ago and instantly got employed. So as a level 300 student who has risen through the levels, and soon to become a graduate, I write this piece in the manner most level 100s, 200s, 300s and “fresh graduates” relate to the canker.

Employment is simply the state of having a job. When this is drummed into the heads of people, the unemployment figures will dwindle by the speed of light. It has been found that, because a person has a degree, he/she wants a job of a certain class and a certain amount.

A survey conducted among 450 final year students of the University of Ghana in May 2000 found that over 84% expected wages significantly higher than current wage offered by the sectors in which they indicated they preferred to work (Boateng and Bekoe, 2001 cited by Boateng and Ofori, 2002).

This I believe is because of the “fast food” nature of our generation. Rising through the ranks is not considered by most graduates. They want to be seen in a certain way, paid in a certain amount which normally doesn’t happen. So they reject offers and go around bellyaching about no employment.

Few decades back, tertiary institutions were few in the country and enrolment as well generally subjacent. So a good number of those who graduated got employed. Few years down the line, the enrolment figures have increased exponentially, and universities have increased in number resulting in more first degree holders.

Last year (2015) alone, 271,000 graduates churned out nationwide according to prof. Yankah ( president of central university college. This year also, graduates will churn out to add to the already unemployed ones. This rising figures of graduates is not bad at all. It is increasing our literacy rate and breeding more entrepreneurs. On the other hand, those who have refused to flow in the direction of this transmutation complain of no jobs.

A final year student was telling me recently that he is now in level 400 but is discombobulated about what to do in future. “It is now that I have to sit and consider what to do after school. Hmmm”. This has been the quandary of many Ghanaian university final year students; this is what leads to the formation of unemployed graduate associations.

There are many who cry for help, and because there are no answers for their call, they feel the pains in the palms of neglect. What do you have in yourself?”- Pastor Chris

Many graduates have been blindfolded with their university degrees. They put all their talents and skills which could be used to start a business or solve some of society’s pressing problems in writing application letters. Of course not everyone can start a business. Some will eventually and others will not dare at all. There are many opportunities around. I heard about a Lebanese who usually says the money is in the gutter. But unfortunately our “graduation robes” are too neat to enter them.

My consultant friend was recently telling me about a certain employment opportunity at a very prestigious place and guess what? All he was asking for was a resume’(seriously???). So I asked “what about the certificate? He retorted “forget about it.” I was shocked. For four years of our lives we just chase after visible certificates and leave out the invisible certificates totally ignorant about the power of the later or even the combination of the two.

One other thing that our graduation robe has taken from us is our talents. Anytime I see people making money from their talents, I wonder why everyone has not discovered theirs let alone use them. You see, God has deposited something in each and every one of us for us to succeed by default but since majority of humanity failed Him, we go around helping others use their talents and ideas, so we end up dying with all our talents and ideas enriching the cemetery.

Ghanaian students should get this: THE PURPOSE OF EDUCATION AND FOR THAT MATTER UNIVERSITY EDUCATION IS NOT TO GET EMPLOYED. IT IS TO EQUIP US WITH THE SKILLS NECESSARY FOR SUCCESS like thinking practically and in a problem-solving manner. So you don’t get employed because you are a graduate you do because you have something that graduates are supposed to have (the 21st-century skills especially.). For instance, a second class lower graduate who solves problems, communicates effectively is wanted by employers than a first class graduate without any. So it will be more compelling and convincing to say “UNEMPLOYED GRADUATES WITH 21st CENTURY SKILLS.”

Until university undergrads wish they completed school early or feel a strong urge to defer their study or even drop out of school because of an opportunity that awaits them, Graduate unemployment will continually be on the rise.

Those still in school. The best time to put water under your chin is when you see your friend’s chin burning. Those who are building yourselves, please go on, and those who have not started, it is better late than never.


By: Vandal Felix Frimpong.

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