While I was walking around the beach somewhere in Winneba, I saw a group of students, probably SHS students who were smoking and drunk. I approached them and I asked them to reflect on their future. I was depressed to discover that about half did not expect to complete the SHS. At the same time, they are expecting to have a healthy and happy life. What is the assurance that students with these expectations will devote themselves to their studies and avoid tobacco, alcohol, and another form of drugs?
We need to acknowledge that students who don’t see a bright future for themselves are demotivated for school. Many factors can contribute to that. In this era of COVID-19, some parents have lost their jobs. These students see classmates dropping out of school, they have siblings who are unemployed, some parents are in abject poverty. They see and hear about or experience some Teachers being biased against other students. Some students get discouraged when they meet with failure, hardship, or face life’s challenges. Others give up entirely. Sadly, speaking, many of those students go to school just because they want to please their parents, for some, just to escape house chores.
This is a nationwide issue. So, Teachers, counselors, parents, psychologists, Government, and NGOs working with children must intervene quickly. With my personal research, here are some ways to help students and unemployed people become more oriented toward a hopeful future.
You do not know what your life will be like tomorrow
We all thought some years ago that education was the key to success. We would go to school for about 20 years of our lives…. get the diplomas, degrees and the first-class yet we come and sit home unemployed. Even when we get employed, our miserable pay cannot be compared to the one doing his own small business and most time, they’re not even educated. Education is still the key but the padlock has changed to Skills and self-employment.
For students and job seekers who are depressed, hopeless, who think they can never make it in life, it is the society’s responsibility to show such students and job seekers examples of some individuals in Ghana, possibly who were like them, who overcame long life challenges to succeed. Life is unpredictable.
We need to encourage them to read and watch videos about Kwame Osei Despite, Joseph Siaw Agyapong and diverse others who did not let failure discourage them, rather they defy the odds with confidence.