Launch of the 69th Annual New Year School and Conference

The 69th Annual New Year School and Conference (ANYSC) of the School of Continuing and Distance Education (SCDE) of the College of Education, University of Ghana, has been launched at the Alisa Hotel. The 69th Annual New Year School and Conference will be held at the University of Ghana in January 2018 on the theme, “Job Creation for Accelerated National Development: The Role of the Private Sector”. The Provost of the College of Humanities and Chairman for the launch, Professor Samuel Agyei-Mensah, in his opening remarks acknowledged the tremendous role the flagship programme, the Annual New Year School and Conference has played over the past 68 years, noting that the ANYSC has contributed immensely to the educational, economic, political, social and cultural well-being of Ghanaians, and helped shape national policies. According to him, although the country has witnessed rapid GDP growth rate over the last decades, the rate of unemployment cannot be overlooked, hence the choice of theme for the 2018 New Year School was appropriate and timely. Prof. Agyei-Mensah thanked the government and all present for their continuous support for the Annual New Year Schools and encouraged them to participate actively in the 2018 School.

Prof. Samuel Agyei-Mensah

The Deputy Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Mr. Bright Wireko-Brobby who performed the launch, quoted the unemployment rate in the 2015 Labour Force Survey of the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) as 11.9%, with the 2013 Ghana Living Standard Survey Six (GLSS 6) employment rate as 68.6%. He further noted that his ministry, in collaboration with development partners and stakeholders had commenced the implementation of the 2015 National Employment Policy (NEP) to create gainful and decent job opportunities for the growing labour force, in order to improve living conditions and contribute to economic growth.

Mr. Bright Wireko-Brobby

The Dean of the School of Continuing Education and Acting Provost of the College of Education, Professor Michael Tagoe said that the choice of the theme for the 69th Annual New Year School and Conference emanates from government’s clarion call for job creation, and the identification of private sector growth as a vehicle for this.

Prof. Michael Tagoe

According to him, the 2017 budget, which had as its theme “Sowing the seed for growth and jobs” and the 2018 budget under the theme, “Putting Ghana back to work” both emphasize the need for the economy to generate jobs for the teeming numbers of unemployed and under employed youth through entrepreneurship opportunities. Prof. Tagoe noted that since one major objective of the New Year Schools is to create the platform for a dispassionate discussion of issues of national concern, it was the right time to set the agenda on what is needed to create an enabling environment for the private sector to truly become the engine of growth and for job creation.

A section of the audience
Mr. Franklin Owusu-Karikari

He therefore called on all policy makers and private sector players to join in deliberating and proposing initiatives that would aid in boosting all relevant agenda. Mr. Franklin Owusu-Karikari, the Director of Business Support of the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP), a flagship policy initiative of the Ministry of Business Development, stated that the private sector in recent years has been considered more of a partner of governments than a menace as it used to be. He said that as part of government’s effort to create an enabling environment for the private sector to function and accelerate national development, the E-business, paperless port clearance, mobile interoperability among other initiatives had been introduced to ease the cost of transacting business in the country. Mr. Owusu-Karikari further noted that NEIP seeks to provide an integrated, national support system for start-ups and small businesses, focusing on the provision of business development services, business incubators and funding for youth owned businesses. He admonished the private sector to rise up to the challenge and play an active part in the various policies and programmes introduced and was hopeful that the 2018 New Year School would come out with key approaches to address challenges faced by the private sector in becoming the engine of growth for accelerated national development. The Communications Manager of Kosmos Energy, Ms. Ruth Adashie noted that their flagship Corporate Social Investment Programme, Kosmos Innovation Centre which was launched since 2016; continues to use ICT and innovation to solve development sector problems in the country and create jobs for the youth. According to her, the aim of the Kosmos Innovation Centre is to assist Ghanaian youth create jobs and discover areas where they can have a significant impact on the Ghanaian economy.

Ms. Ruth Adashie

Also present at the ceremony was a representative from the Ministry of Information, Mrs. Patricia Dovi Sampson, the Director of the Centre for National Distance Learning and Open Schooling (CENDLOS), Dr. Joshua Mallet, representatives from the National Association of Graduate Teachers and faculty of the University of Ghana.