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05.09.2002 General News

Agric Colleges to be upgraded

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...into Diploma awarding institutions

The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Major Courage Quashigah (Rtd) has said plans were far advanced to upgrade agricultural Colleges to diploma awarding institutions and the curriculum accordingly reviewed.

The Ministry has also set in motion the affiliation of the colleges to the University of Cape Coast (UCC) for the award of diploma certificates. The Agriculture Colleges are located at Kwadaso, Ejura, Ohawu, Damongo and the Pong-Tamale Veterinary College.

Major Quashigah said this in a speech read on his behalf at the 17th Annual General Conference and Workshop of the Agricultural Science Teachers Association of Ghana, which opened in Accra on Tuesday.

The three-day conference, which is being attended by representatives from all the ten regions include agricultural science teachers from the basic, second cycle and tertiary educational institutions. The theme for the conference is "Agricultural Education at the Cross-roads; A decade of reforms, achievements, prospects and the way forward".

The five agricultural colleges serve as source of middle level manpower for the agricultural sector and successful graduates obtain certificate in General Agriculture issued by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

Major Quashigah said the Ministry also provided vocational training at its three farm Institutes located at Wenchi, Asuansi and Adidome for practising and prospective farmers to enable them to increase productivity.

Currently an innovative Bachelor of Science (BSc) (Agric Extension) programme is in progress at the University of Cape Coast. The programme, which started in 1993, is tailored to meet the demands of the Ministry in its drive to produce professional and competent extension staff for its work with farmers.

Major Quashigah said the Ministry has a human resource development policy and its policy statement was to accord its employees opportunities for training both formal and informal to ensure career development consistent with their own aspirations and the plans and objectives of the ministry.

He said the staff, who have satisfactorily worked three years and above with the Ministry were given study leave with pay to upgrade their academic qualifications at local universities and occasionally at overseas universities.

Major Quashigah said the Ministry was so much concerned about the poor state of agricultural education system in the country and has, therefore, made provision in the Agricultural Services Sector Investor Project (ASSIP) for the formulation of agricultural education and training policy in Ghana.

The Ministry in conjunction with the Ministry of Education are preparing the terms of reference which would enable them strengthen agricultural education and training.

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