The current educational system does not support productivity because universities in the country are churning out students from the same programme models which creates a surplus society, Dr. Jerry Kombant-Monfant, President of MBIC Group of Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors has said.

Speaking to the B&FT on the side-lines of a public lecture in Accra, organised by the Institute of Chartered Economists, Ghana, Dr. Monfant said it is high time the country looked at building a knowledge based economy to narrow the gulf between industry and academia.

“Our current educational system does not support productivity and I say so because if you have over 70 private tertiary institutions affiliated to six public universities offering the same programme models, then you are creating a surplus society.

As a people, he said, Ghanaians are not becoming more innovative and that the base starts from academics in the country.

“If we are able have academia run specialised courses in pharmaceuticals, biochemistry and electronic specialisation, I think it will have an effect on our unemployment problems,” he said.

The current educational system, he said, needs a total overhaul to reflect the future direction of the country.

“We need a new educational model that will focus on the country's competitiveness. If the country intends to become competitive and play a leadership role in certain industries, we could start grooming institutions that will produce people for these industries.

For example, you cannot establish a shoemaking industry in Kumasi without a shoemaking school. How do we get the resourced people to innovate and upgrade what they are producing?” he said.

Employers have often complained that graduates dp not have the requisite skills for the job market even as graduate unemployment is on the ascendancy, and Dr. Monfant believes the time has come for academia, policy makers and industry to collectively find a way out.

Statistics on graduate unemployment by the Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana states that graduate unemployment will hit 271,000 this year.

The country, ISSER said, is sitting on a time-bomb with its worsening unemployment situation.

Currently, there are about 350,000 students in the country's tertiary institutions with employment opportunities for close to 30,000 yearly, a situation Dr. Monfant said looks grim for the country's future.

To solve the problem, he said the country needs to sit down and determine the direction it wants to go, establish the appropriate industries and then allow academia to churn out personnel who will be required to man the set industry.

“If we can decide that this is the direction we want to go as a country and these are the industries that we need to support us to get there, academia would then be able to train people who will be skilful enough to transform the economy. Whichever way you look at it, our educational institutions are tailored to humanities and it is time we changed the trajectory,” he noted.

Among other things, Dr. Monfant called forstrengthening of venture capital support and deliberate policies to support industries capable of giving the country a competitive advantage.