Africa AfricaAsia  Special Report

Elizabeth Ofori: Is Education & Training Enough?

Elizabeth Ofori

The following submission is a recent understanding I gained reading  Trevor Noah’s memoir “Born a Crime”. I agree with him first hand.

We have heard this saying over and over again…we’re even taught it in  rhymes during our preschool days – “if you give a man a fish, he will  have a single meal, but if you teach him how to fish, he will eat all  the time”. Oh how we believed it. And chanted it with such gusto. Then we saw ourselves over the years trying to learn to fish so we can eat all the time.

What we forgot to see then, but hopefully we get to see now, is the  fact that after teaching a man to fish, you need to provide him with a  fishing gear so he can begin to fish.

Most people who have made  it successfully today will always tell you about their big break. The one moment when someone or something presented him or her with the hook  and line he or she so badly needed to put his fishing lessons to use and convert it into something substantial.

What am I saying?

I am saying that it’s not enough to just give a person education or  training without providing the job opportunity (or starter pack,  whatever form it takes) or what I call “the hook and line” needed to  transform that knowledge into wealth.

That’s the current case of  the alarming rates of unemployment especially youth unemployment  globally but sadly more in developing countries.

You see job  advertisements asking for 25 years experience for a role that simply  requires basic knowledge in book keeping, organisation or administrative  work

You see global organisations advertising roles that  require a minimum qualification of a high school diploma or let me step  it up a bit; a degree (which most young innovative people have) but they  go ahead to say must have at least 10 years experience in similar role.  (really?)

Elizabeth Ofori

What we have failed to realize is that the world is  shifting from the era of typical specialization to what we now call  expert generalists. The days when a person studies accounting, and  becomes an accountant the whole of their lives is gradually but steadily  giving way to the days where you need to be an expert in different  fields.

In as much as experience is important in any given field,  we need to remember that we have to take the chance on the people  (especially young people) who have the energy, drive, passion,  innovative ideas and non – financial wherewithal to add value to your  organization, institutions, or business.

Decent work should not  be a privilege to a selected few but an equal access to anyone who is  ready to put the hand to the plough.




About the author

Adewale Adenrele Muhideen

Journalist ,PR, Researcher, Investigative , Culture and Tourism promoter, Business Development Consultant.

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