Our inordinate obsession with degrees turned graduates into ‘certificated unemployables’ – Dr. Samuel Esson Jonah

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A Ghanaian businessman who is the executive chairman of Jonah Capital, an equity fund based in Johannesburg, South Africa and also the current chancellor of the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. Mr. Sam Johah was born in Obuasi and had his high-school education at Adisadel College.


Due to the nature of his business, Mr. Jonah is a frequent traveler to many African Countries and has gained so much experience in the matters of development around Africa.


It is on this premise he asked that Ghanaians completely overhaul our educational system as a pathway to accelerate the rate of development in the country in a speech he delivered at Rotary Club of Accra, Ghana entitled ‘Down the up escalator – Reflections on Ghana’s future by a senior citizen’.


In pursuance to his suggestion, he said “ a useful educational system must be able to groom young people to believe in themselves and to have the necessary skills and attitudes to form an effective, efficient labour force”.


He said he is not making this suggestions based on the duration of school, rather, he is talking about the quality and prioritization of what our children are taught in schools.

He referenced: “As the legendary Dr. Kwegyir Aggrey opined, our education must train the heads, hands and heart of our youth”
“Our inordinate obsession with degrees and certificates has turned most of our graduates into ‘certificated unemployables’ hardly suited to the needs of industry”.


“Are we preparing our graduates for the new skill sets needed for the future?” and it is for this reason that he (Sam Jonah) was unable to comprehend the logic that informed the conversion of our polytechnics into universities.
The chancellor of UCC Sam E. Jonah added that “technical and vocational education have been crucial in Germany’s development”


“Let us relook at our priorities and reform the educational system, shifting away from grades and certificates to technical know-how, values and attitude building – an educational system which inculcates into our young people flexibility and adaptability – communication and emotional intelligence – creativity and innovation as well as ethical leadership skills”.


He asserted that, this is the only way we can compete in the 21st century, and from his perspective, we do not lack the human and material resources to create that kind of system.
“We must shape the future we desire for our country today”

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