The Chairman of the African Business Centre for Developing Education (ABCDE), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), Mr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, has stressed the need for mentorship for students as a way of bridging the gap between academia and industry.
Mr Spio-Garbrah, also a former Minister of Trade and Industry, indicated that many industries often expressed discontentment over the skills and competencies of graduates who came out of the country’s academic institutions.
“As a Minister of Trade and Industry, talking to industrialists and businessmen, it came to my attention that many of them were dissatisfied with the quality of graduates our universities were producing,” he said.
Mr Spio-Garbrah made the remarks in an interview with the Daily Graphic after he paid a courtesy call on the management of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) in Accra yesterday.
Mr Spio-Garbrah and his team were at the GCGL head office to introduce the NGO to Graphic’s management and to solicit the company’s support.
The ABCDE team was received by the Managing Director of the GCGL, Mr Ato Afful, and his team, including the Director of News, Mrs Mavis Kitcher; Editor of the Daily Graphic, Mr Kobby Asmah; and Director of Marketing, Mr Franklin Sowah.
Founded on July 25, 2012, ABCDE helps the business community to deliver various services to the educational sector through mentorship, internships and scholarships.
Mr Spio-Garbrah said “all countries try to train their young people for leadership and for roles in the society, especially in the economy and places where they can work”, adding that “education is critical in developing the young”.
Mr Spio-Garbrah, who is also a former Minister of Education, said nobody was telling the educational managers and institutions “the kind of graduates we need; the kinds of professions we need and the kinds of occupation we need” so that managers of the country’s educational institutions would produce graduates according to the needs of the economy.
“There is a mismatch between what students are learning and studying and what the economy really needs,” he pointed out.
Mr Ato Afful commended Mr Spio-Garbrah and his team for initiating the ABCDE project.
He pledged the support of GCGL to the project, saying “the GCGL will do everything within its ability to ensure the success of the project”.
He said the mentorship programmes would help many beneficiary students to make informed life decisions, stressing that “people have gone to school but are not trained”.
He added that “We are happy to be approached on this project and will be happy to support it”, describing the initiative as a laudable idea.