Demand and Supply of Skills
Mr. Chairman, the introduction of entrepreneurship education into the curriculum of vocational and technical institutions, will among other factors, depend on the availability of trained personnel, suitable literature and relevant training materials. I am happy to say that the Department of Technology Education and the Department of Business Education of the Kumasi Campus of the University of Education, Winneba have Entrepreneurship Education Course in their programmes. Thus, the two departments turn out teachers capable of teaching Entrepreneurship Education in vocational and technical schools.
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, let me note here that if entrepreneurship education is to bring about any meaningful wealth creation, then graduates who want to establish their businesses must be supported in some way, especially those with promising business ideas. Such assistance could include tax holidays, land and equipment acquisition and credit facilities. Presently, the Government has instituted an annual competition aimed at identifying young entrepreneurs, to provide them with technical and financial support to begin their own businesses. Dubbed “Growing the Young Entrepreneurs,” the annual competition involves submission of business plans by graduates of any of the tertiary institutions in the country to an adjudicating panel for vetting.
The Ministry of Private Sector Development funds the first three winning business plans whilst the others that are adjudged viable but are not selected are assisted to raise funds from banks. I am also aware that some NGOs have also been undertaking similar exercises. When entrepreneurship education is made an integral part of vocational and technical programmes, similar competitions should be organised at the district level and assistance should be extended to graduates with promising business ideas. This could go a long way in promoting wealth creation.
Mr Chairman, the entrepreneur ‘s role in wealth creation cannot be over emphasised. One of the pioneer researchers in entrepreneurship, McClelland (1961), in his book “The Achieving Society” attested to this fact. His findings about what contributed to economic growth in various societies were contested at the time. McClelland saw economic development as resulting from the activities of individuals (entrepreneurs) and rejected the idea that economic development was caused by exogenous factors such as material resources. McClelland further provided a link between the individual (entrepreneur) and economic growth in the form of psychological motive, the need to achieve which he defined as “the desire to do well, not so much for the sake of social recognition or prestige, but to obtain an inner feeling of accomplishment.”
He hypothesised that a high need for achievement would cause individuals to behave in an entrepreneurial way and thus increase economic growth. McClelland emphasised that achievement motivation was not essentially in-born but could be developed or acquired through education. Studies conducted by other researchers confirm McClelland’s findings. Additionally, the level of economic development of some countries that are not so much endowed with material resources has vindicated David McClelland. Clearly, entrepreneurship education could be used to mobilize and stimulate the use of entrepreneurial talents for wealth creation.
Mismatch Between Demand and Supply of Skills.
For vocational and technical education to play a meaningful role in wealth creation, it should be relevant, in the sense that, it should provide training that corresponds to the needs of the labour market, i. e. a system that is demand driven. Unfortunately, vocational and technical programmes in the country are presently, supply driven and not demand driven. Supply driven training almost certainly will result in giving to many students the wrong (unemployable) skills and thus resulting in training for unemployment, which not only wastes students’ time, but also an inefficient use of government funding. An efficient training system is not achieved if graduates do not use and benefit from the skills acquired.