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Ghana’s High Commissioner to Australia pays courtesy call on New South Wales minister

Geoffrey Lee Gl H. E. Dr. Joseph Agoe in a handshake with Geoffrey Lee

Mon, 7 Jun 2021 Source: Office of Ghana’s High Commissioner to Australia

The High Commissioner, Dr. Joseph Agoe paid a courtesy call on the Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education of New South Wales, Australia, the Honourable Geoffrey Lee.

The discussions centred on deepening the existing cooperation between Ghana and New South Wales (NSW) and to explore possible areas of cooperation in the Skills Training and Tertiary Sector with specific focus on Technical, Vocational Education Training (TVET).

During the meeting, H.E. Dr. Joseph Agoe highlighted the importance of youth training since their idleness could be capitalised on by terror groups like Boko Haram.

He explained that, although Ghana did not fall in the category of countries whose youth were recruited by terrorist groups, there was the need to nip the current youth unemployment rate in the bud before they escalated. The High Commissioner requested the Minister for possible areas of collaboration in the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) between Ghana and Australia in response to the training needs of the teaming youth in Ghana.

The Minister, in his response, informed that his portfolio was mainly in the Technical and Vocational Education Training sector and therefore proceeded to recommend that Ghana considered skills training for the youth whose families could not afford to fund them through tertiary education.

He added that the productivity of every country was directly correlated to the education level of its population, and therefore every Government should consider educating as much of its general population as possible.

He lamented that unfortunately, for most countries, including Australia, Government’s focus was mostly on the University sector at the detriment of the technical, vocational and skills sectors.

Hon. Lee disclosed that, NSW had made good strides in the skills training sector largely because of the huge investments the Government makes in that sector and was happy to support the best way he could, any options Ghana proposed.

He also suggested that Ghana developed its own internal capacity to develop the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector, explaining that the impact could only be felt when between 400,000 to 500,000 people are trained at the same time, with the training focusing on Ghana’s competitive advantage.

The High Commissioner then informed that the Government of Ghana in 2017 introduced free education, popularly called the Free SHS programme, from basic to high school with one hot meal per day.

He revealed that the Free SHS programme has unearthed many brilliant students from deprived areas. As a result, the best students for the past three years have not been from the most popular schools, but rather from the very deprived schools. This he said indicates that when children are given equal opportunity, they will excel no matter how deprived.

The High Commissioner and the NSW Minister for Skills agreed to continue their conversation on collaboration in the TVET sector to drive the change that will accelerate the development of Ghana.

The meeting with the Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education ended on a very fruitful note as he pledged his readiness to support Ghana in the development of skills, particularly in the vocational sector.

Source: Office of Ghana’s High Commissioner to Australia