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Northern Development Depends On The Human Resource Of The North

2009-04-25 10:37:06
This article has been read 937 times.

The Northern Development Forum, a brain child of the NPP government is a unique opportunity for people in the three Northern Regions of the country to use their expertise for the development of the area and to alleviate the suffering of its populace.

With all the initiatives and plans of the Northern Development Authority, the only resource that can sphere head and kick start the development of the North is its human resource. There are numerous Northerners who have “become southerners” because they do not know when they last visited their hometowns. Others however make efforts to visit their home town annually or quarterly. Unfortunately, these professionals do no want to work in the North or the right environment is not created for them to adequately fit into the “working system of the north”. This creates a situation where the great human resource of the area is not tapped. On the contrary, we have Southerners and Europeans who have seen the need for skilled professionals in the North, and hence have offered to be posted into deprived areas of the north to offer their professional services. Who do we expect to develop our part of the country? The work of the authority will be meaningful if the highly educated Northerners among them are willing to be sent to the North to work. If they are unwilling, they should give the opportunity to people who are willing to be posted to the North to draft their own proposals and provided with the necessary advice by the others.

Another unfortunate occurrence is the fact that highly trained or emerging young Northern professionals are not given the opportunity to acquire skills and training that will help them obtain jobs relevant for the development of the area. A cursory look at some organizations and institutions reveal that none will accept a graduate to do an internship. Such organizations did not offer internship opportunities for Ghanaians but provide opportunities for foreigners. Surprisingly, they accept National Service Personnel. Professionally, organizations could offer alternatives to people interested in working with them instead of an outright refusal. This raises a lot of questions and doubts about the actual aim of such organizations in our region. Has it ever occurred to anyone why we have numerous NGO’s in our region and yet the poverty and illiteracy situation is so high? In my papers to the World Bank on “gender and regional inequality in education in Ghana” I concluded my essay by asking why the North has so much support in education and has the highest illiteracy levels. These questions should be an impetus for stakeholders of the NDA to evaluate and assess the impact of the NGO’s based in the North especially in the areas of poverty reduction and the development of education.

Human resource development begins from the basic and secondary school levels. If pupils have a good basic and secondary education there will be a much richer human resource base in the North. However, the number of teachers in our schools is insufficient to meet the increasing enrollment. In the secondary schools there are insufficient teachers. The Ghana Education Service or School Heads are unwilling to make use of unemployed graduates. When a graduate sends an application to any school the applicant is asked if he is a trained teacher. If the person is not a trained teacher it becomes difficult or impossible for the person to get temporal or permanent employment as a teacher in a secondary school. Why is this happening? Headmasters do not want the bureaucracy involved in processing salaries of untrained teachers. When we calculate the number of hours lost by the student in a subject because of lack of teachers then we will understand why our standards are falling. There are a lot of schools that can absorb the unemployed graduates if only the bureaucracies with salaries are streamlined and made much easier. The Northern Development Authority could develop a proposal on providing incentives to graduates who will like to go into the teaching field temporary in order to fill the gaps in the system.

Stakeholders should make the forum inclusive to avoid it becoming “elitist” and one sided controlled by busy professors and doctors. In Ghana, the norm is to take up the post and neglect its responsibilities. Instead, there are dynamic youth who can take the ND as a full time job to bring their youthfulness and radicalism to influence positive change backed by the experience and advice of the highly educated elite.

It is therefore important that the Northern caucus in parliament, Northerners in the Diaspora and Northerners in Ghana to understand that the development of the North is a responsibility of people from the North. This will motivate them to contribute to the development or improvement of the human resource of the northern sector by making legislations and sacrifices, for it is only Northerners who can bridge the gap between the North and the South.

by: Gumah, Bernard

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