The youth of Ghana are very determined and always strive to make the best out of their lives but the bottlenecks that society has placed on their way prevents them from achieving them.
Some among those who complete Secondary education and pass, make efforts to either further their education or join the security agencies but the corruption that has bedeviled the recruitment process into these agencies and its attendant inability of many of the youth to meet the unrealistic monetary demands made by some corrupt recruitment officials rob them of their dreams and aspirations.
Having no one to turn to for help, with time, many of them become more helpless and see opportunities slip by and become rarer for them like faeces become for a chameleon with age. This plight is what motivated me to share my thoughts on this subject.
I have had the opportunity to discuss what goes into admissions into tertiary institutions and enlistments into the security agencies with several people (including some principals of certain institutions and some security personnel). What ensued in these discussions would startle you.
One mantra which stood out in most of our discussions was ‘Charlie, this has always been the practice.’ You will agree with me that doing something always is not what makes it right. Permit me to put a couple of banal premises across; at least to substantiate my thoughts:
Suppose 20 people are needed in an institution or in a particular security agency, realistically, the number of people one would aim at issuing out forms to is either 25 or 30, in case some do not show up or are disqualified in the process. Yet a lot of forms are sold and a lot of money made in the process.
Secondly, in filling a 2 or 3 paged document (using your own data and details) applicants are made to pay so much money. What is the justification for such huge sums of cash? What happens to the monies of the large number of applicants who could not make it to either the institution or security agency?
When looking for people to fill vacancies, if forms sold are a little over the actual number being sought for to fill such vacancies, that could be justifiable. Nevertheless, selling an exponential number of forms as compare to the number of people needed is unfair and outrageous.
One may argue that the more forms such institutions sell, the more likely they are to get the best candidates to recruit or enlist. The qualification and conditions prospective applicants are required to meet before applying are there to ensure that the right candidates are recruited. If the criteria is not adequate, they should be reviewed to cure any inherent inadequacies.
How some of these young people get money to purchase the forms is very heartbreaking. Most of them do not work; they are dependent on others for survival: parents, relatives churches and friends.
Some raise this money through all sorts of avenues including borrowing, selling on the streets (amidst the harsh weather sometimes) and particularly, for some ladies, sleeping with men against their wish to raise money to purchase the form for the institution or the security enlistment. Middlemen and women are some other hassles these applicants have to go through before they are assured of even getting close to their goals.
Honestly speaking, if there are no clear justifications for siphoning such colossal sums of monies from these poor and young people, then in my estimation, this is corruption in broad daylight or better stealing as some would prefer. It does not matter who is involved and how long this practice has gone on. It is not fair to raise the hopes and aspirations of our dear country’s young and desperate citizens only to dampen it or disappoint them. Many are tired of going through this ordeal; so are their sponsors, parents and donors.
In a bid to justify why such monies are taken, one may argue that there is a lot of stress in going about these interviews and recruitment exercises but wait a minute! I thought that should be part of your work for which you are being paid, for crying out loud, you don’t need such monies to relieve your stress aside your legitimate salaries and allowances.
Those who pay money but are denied are among the young men and women who get embittered and frustrated along the line and become the scammers, armed robbers and prostitutes on our streets, posing a threat to other innocent people. Meanwhile, those collecting their monies are protected.
In my candid opinion, advertising and selling forms for admissions to the tertiary institutions and for recruitments into any of the security agencies should be according to the number of candidates the institution is looking for. For any extra candidates, it should be at most one-fourth of the total number needed for the purpose of any eventuality.
For fairness, every institution or security agency should advertise for a form per candidate; in other words, a candidate can only buy a form per an institution or security agency and not for several institutions or security agencies.
Apart from sale of an excessive number of forms with its attendant bribery and corruption, long protocol lists also compound the frustration many poor and unconnected youth go through as far as securing admission into institutions and enlistment into the security forces are concerned. Large number of the admissions and recruitments goes to people who have connections to influential people in society.
Much as I am not against protocol lists, the quota for it should be reduced so that more of meritocracy would be deployed in admissions and enlistments into our institutions to make us get the best out of them.
I would like to make a passionate appeal to the government, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, the National Council for Tertiary Education, the senior men and women in the security agencies, the Anti-Corruption Agencies and the Human Rights Advocacy groups to look seriously into this menace and find a fairer solution to it as this can become a security threat to the state as well.
In Ghana, most people wants to become successful by all means, pushing most people to become anything to achieve whatever goal they desire. As Albert Einstein said, ‘Try not to become a person of success but rather try to become a person of value.’
Nicholas Nibetol Aazine, SVD
(Coordinator for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, Ghana-Liberia Province)
Divine Word Missionaries: A Catholic Missionary Society
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