He expressed these sentiments at Dawu-Akuapem in the Akuapem North municipality of the Eastern region at the weekend where he was special guest of honour during a durbar of chiefs and people there to celebrate the Odwira festival.
The local government noted he was completely quoted out of context and that he was referring to junior and senior high school graduates who had been unable to further their education.
He explained that he had asked them to acquire some vocational skills because his ministry had established the Local Enterprise and Skills Development (LESDEP) program to support them with adequate logistics to make a better living for themselves.
He said the LESDEP has a component for barbering, hairdressing and farming adding that he advised JHS and SHS graduates who could not continue with their education to register with LESDEP to learn such vocations so that they could be supported to set up their own businesses.
'I never said university graduates who are unemployed should go into barbering and hairdressing because it will be an affront to the level of education they had had' he said adding he was very much pained to read the report implying that he had looked down on university education.
Sounding very emotional, he said though it is true that unemployment among university graduates is high because the number of university graduates produced annually far outstrips the employment opportunities in the formal sector, he never called on university graduates to turn to barbering and hairdressing to help solve their unemployment problems.
'We used to have only three universities in the country but now there are many universities including private ones so definitely the number of graduates turned out every year has increased tremendously and cannot match job opportunities available,' he said.
He said unemployed university graduates can also help themselves by setting up their own businesses and not strictly depend on the government to provide jobs for them.
He pointed out that university education challenges the minds of students to think beyond the ordinary and be innovative and therefore one would expect that university graduates would think outside the box and find something to do for themselves.
'There are a lot of young graduates who never depended on government for formal employment but decided to do some 'little' business and with their level of education they were able to expand and become very successful business people,' he added.
'I know of a very young graduate by name Roland Agambiree who decided to sell and repair mobile phones and now through that he has been able to establish a big telecommunications company called rLG which assembles mobile phones on a large scale helping to give employment to other young people.'
The Member of Parliament for the area, Dan Botwe who also spoke at the event, stressed on the need for parents to pay proper attention to the education of their children saying investing in education is the best investment one can give to his children.
He expressed regret about the current falling standards of education especially at the basic level saying the problem could be the way teachers have been neglected.
According to him, communities who want to have the best education for their children must motivate teachers to give their best in the classroom.
He commended the chief and people of Dawu for setting up a Teachers Appreciation Fund to assist teachers in the area.
'I learnt you recently rewarded teachers at Dawu from the little contributions members of the community made and as Member of Parliament for the area I fully support the idea because I believe the teacher is central to quality education,”
He consequently made a personal contribution of GH¢2,000 to the fund to help support teachers at Dawu.
From Thomas Fosu Jnr, Dawu-Akuapem