Soft skills are tools and technologies that allow people to be productive and successful in various areas of professional activity. They primarily affect social and managerial abilities, such as adaptability, teamwork, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, creativity, and others. Soft skills play an important role in professional development: for example, they can greatly affect the possibility of employment and potential salary levels. They are usually independent of cultural and linguistic contexts; however, there is a certain emphasis on one or the other skill in different social environments. The necessity of obtaining and continuously developing social skills becomes increasingly more acute as the world continues to strive towards globalization and multiculturalism. This paper provides an overview of the critical retention issues associated with social skills among university students in Ghana.
Among the social skills issues that are related to the student retention problem in Ghanaian universities is the juvenile delinquency. Alhassan (2019) states that “a social skills shortfall can take the form of noncompliance with school rules, physical or verbal aggression, or defiance of authority figures” (p. 2). Such behavior occurs primarily due to the fact that, despite significant wealth of resources, Ghana remains one of the less developed countries of the African continent. Poverty and hunger often hinder children from attending educational institutions, which in turn negatively affects their social skills and ability to interact with others.
Another issue lies in the fact that Ghanaian universities provide limited opportunities for training students in critical thinking and soft skills. Universities remain one of the best environments for development and facilitation of soft skills, as they allow students to interact with each other, work as teams, and build networks. However, there are specific learning strategies that are more efficient in building social skills than the others. For example, Alves et al. (2018) suggest that problem-based learning approach employed by the university educators greatly influences the students’ soft skills, especially in engineering field. When students are denied the opportunity to actually solve a problem through critical thinking, discussion, and analysis, and given ready answers instead, they cannot develop their social skills or learn how to properly apply them.
Alhassan, M. (2019). Effect of social skills training on juveniles’ psychological problems in a detention center in Ghana. Journal of Education, Society and Behavioural Science, 1–7. Web.
Alves, A. C., Leão, C. P., Moreira, F., & Teixeira, S. (2018). Project-based learning and its effects on freshmen social skills in an engineering program. Human Capital and Competences in Project Management. Web.