In developing countries, skills development has been neglected. Skills
development does not appear in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
or in many poverty reduction strategies and has been side-lined in
favour of investment in primary education. However, it is hoped that
discussion of skills development in the 2005 Global Monitoring Report
and the forthcoming World Summit in September 2005, will refocus
attention on skills training. In Ghana, skills development has received
too little actual emphasis, despite the rhetoric of the Ghana Poverty
Reduction Strategy Paper and more than one hundred and fifty years of
preoccupation with making education more relevant to the world of work.
This paper argues that the current state of, and recent trends in,
skills development opportunities in rural Ghana fail to adequately
address the multiple occupational pathways of the youth, and especially
the poor, as they attempt to become fully and productively engaged in
decent livelihoods in the rural informal economy. Skills development
interventions follow a top-down strategy, with programmes having little
labour market relevance, and post-training support that is either absent
or weak. Support for skills development in the informal economy, which
is by far the largest destination for school leavers, is virtually
non-existent. This paper will analyse and critique skills development in
relation to Ghana's rural informal economy.
This paper argues that the underlying assumption of the Ghanaian skills
development agenda, that skills training solves un/under-employment and
leads to economic growth and poverty reduction, will not be realised
unless an effective and innovative pro-poor informal economy strategy is
developed in order for skills development to result in livelihood
outcomes that are both decent and productive.
8th UKFIET Oxford Conference on Education and Development, Oxford, UK, 13-15 September 2005, 29 pp.
Skills for work?: from skills development to decent livelihoods in Ghana’s rural informal economy