Mr. John Budu-Smith, Retired Director General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), on Friday cautioned the Polytechnics against behaving like the Universities but should clearly understand their role as tertiary Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutes.
He said the Universities were institutions where frontiers of knowledge were researched and expanded whereby the Polytechnics deal with the development of high level technical skills and technological innovations in collaboration with Industry and Commerce for the creation of wealth.
Mr. Budu-Smith was speaking at the 58th New Year School currently underway at the University of Ghana under the topic 93Education In The Past 50 Years: Matters Of Concern - The Technical and Vocational Education and Training Sub-Sector"
He noted that the Polytechnic should critically understand their mandate so that they may confidently play their very important role in the nation's human resource development adding
"The Polytechnics should know what they are and what they are meant to be 93.
Mr Budu-Smith said the initial high profile attention that was given to the development of TVET at independence up to the mid 1960s gave way to less attention almost to a point of total neglect.
"Until recently, Ghana's TVET had not been given the attention it deserved to enable it to contribute effectively to national human resource development vital for producing skilled workforce for Ghana's socio-economic development."
The challenges that faced the TVET system from the late 1960s onwards included the lack of national policy framework to guide the TVET sub-sector as a cohesive national endeavour, inadequate infrastructural facilities inadequate numbers of qualified and experienced Technical Teachers and lack of linkage with industry.
Mr. Budu Smith said these challenges resulted in the eroding of the high quality technical manpower which Ghana should have produced. He however noted that in spite of the difficulties and challenges that have confronted the TVET, it had made some achievements fifty years after independence as there were 130 public TVET institutions under various Ministries, Departments and Agencies, compared to the less than eight at independence.
" There are five Universities providing tertiary level degree and diploma courses in various engineering, agricultural mining, business and other TVET related fields, 39 NVTI Vocational Institutes, five Agricultural Training Institutions and over 500 private ones operated by Churches, Industries, NGOs and individuals."
He said in order to move the TVET sub-sector forward, the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports and Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment must see to the immediate establishment of the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COVET) and its committees as recently approved by Parliament to effect the implementation of the new policy.
He said the GETFund Law should be amended to contribute at least 10 per cent of its disbursement to finance TVET at the pre-tertiary level and called on Ghanaians to change their negative attitude towards TVET and promote its image.