A new study published in Accra has found that majority of children in Ghana believe that the future is bleak and are planning to leave the country when they are old enough to do so.
The study published by Child Rights International ( CRI), surveyed the expectations of children between the ages between 12 and 17 in all the 16 regions of Ghana. It found that 55 percent of children want to leave the country by 2040.
These children, who were sampled from 11, 288 respondents, cited jobs, education, and better standards of living elsewhere as the main reasons for their decision.
According to the report, 94 percent of the children stated that they were worried about getting a job in the next two decades.
Reviewing the report, the Executive Director of CRI, Mr Bright Appiah, said the report sought to understand the values, attitudes, concerns, and optimism about the future of Ghanaian children.
He said the report solicited information on the life experience of Ghanaian children about the present and their vision of the country for their future.
Delving deeper into the findings, Mr Appiah said high unemployment, high level of poverty, corruption, high number of orphans and street children and poor education as the top five of the social problems children were most concerned about.
On agriculture, the report revealed that 80 percent of the children do not want to have anything to do with agriculture, adding that only 20 percent of children would want to develop a career in agriculture.
” according to the study, the lack of start-up capital was the topmost reason cited by respondents for not considering a career in agriculture,” the report said.
Regarding the country’s economy, the report indicated that a little over 60 percent of the respondents believe Ghana is on the right track.
” Thirty-eight (38) percent of the children say it is heading in the wrong direction and 55 percent of respondents say they are not satisfied with their standard of living.
On the optimism about Ghana’s future, more than two in 10 (22 %) see the country’s future as bleak,” Mr. Appiah said.
On the educational sector, the study found that 53 percent of the children perceive the current educational system as competent enough to finding a future job.
However, 47 percent of the respondents paint a bleak picture as to how the country’s current educational system would help them find jobs in the next 20 years.
Touching on the skills requirements for future jobs, high level of skills training, acquisition of technical or vocational skills, and technological skills were the top three skills the children cited as prerequisites to have a better future.
On national identity, the report also stated that more than 90 percent of the children express satisfaction of being Ghanaians.
They listed peace and stability, freedom of speech, system of democracy, cultural diversity, and Ghana’s national resources as the main reason behind their pride as Ghanaians.
On the issue of religion, the report stated that 81 percent of the children said religion was important.
However, 73 percent of the children say religion is personal as opposed to religious affiliations of their family or culture.
In his recommendation, Mr Appiah said the findings suggested that there must be a conscious effort by the government to provide better standard of living for the citizenry.
Although the survey findings indicated that children were hopeful of a change in the future, he said measures ought to be put in place to address corruption and unemployment as well as encouraging entrepreneurship, limiting the power of politicians, and investing in quality education.
Mr Appiah said emphasis must be placed on helping build children to embrace hard work, educational qualifications, and talents as key indicators for success rather than religious beliefs and practices.