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24.01.2012 Education

Polytechnics Urged To Move Away From Shadows Of Varsities

By Emmanuel Bonney - Daily Graphic
Mrs Betty Mould Iddrisu - Minister of EducationMrs Betty Mould Iddrisu - Minister of Education
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The Minister of Education, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, has charged polytechnics in the country to focus on their mandate of equipping students with hands-on skills, instead of operating “from the shadows of universities”.

In Ghana, she said, the polytechnics were established to equip students with practical problem-solving skills and that when their trainees became managers, “they work with a difference because they are well trained for the job market”.

In a speech read on her behalf at the 10th congregation of the Accra Polytechnic on Saturday, the minister said, “The polytechnics must move away from the shadows of the universities and have the self-confidence to concentrate on what polytechnics are supposed to do — produce middle-level, hands-on and skilled personnel.”

In all, 2,467 graduands who completed their courses in 2010 were awarded Higher National Diploma (HND). One per cent obtained First Class, 35 per cent Second Class Upper, 59 per cent Second Class Lower and five per cent had pass.

Sixty per cent of the graduands came from the Faculty of Business and Management Studies, 22 per cent from the Faculty of Engineering and 18 per cent from the Faculty of Applied Science and Arts.

Mrs Mould-Iddrisu said polytechnics were at the heart of the economic transformation of the country and that “the success of our industrialisation will depend generally on the availability of the technical workforce with adequately equipped practical skills”.

The rationale for polytechnic education, she said, was to produce a critical core of technical workforce with practical skills for the country and, therefore, urged young people to opt for polytechnic education out of choice and pursue the programmes with much pride and a sense of purpose.

“It is to ensure the success of the mandate of the polytechnics that the government has intensified its efforts at providing both infrastructure and human resource. The government will continue to supplement efforts by the polytechnics through projects initiated under the GETFund, TALIF and NUFFIC,” she said.

The Chairman of the Accra Polytechnic Governing Council, Prof Joshua Alabi, said the “polytechnics must provide the bulk of our people with an education that is practical and forward-looking in approach, so as to train entrepreneurs who can create private jobs, rather than rely on the government for employment”.

He said the polytechnics faced the challenge of bridging the gap between the training they offered and the needs of industry and that “contributions of industry in terms of collaboration, co-ordination and information about their needs still remain a mirage, despite the efforts by the polytechnics to draw closer to industry”.

Prof Alabi said few industries provided avenues for industrial attachment for polytechnic students to acquire the requisite hands-on training during their courses of study.

The Rector of the Accra Polytechnic, Dr Festus Addo-Yobo, announced that it was in the process of seeking affiliation with the University of Ghana, the University of Cape Coast and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology to offer Bachelor of Technology (B-Tech) in Hospital Management, Automobile Engineering, Building Technology, Civil Engineering, Accountancy, Marketing, Procurement and Secretaryship and Management Studies.

The polytechnic’s affiliation with Liverpool John Moores University had provided the Bachelor of Science top-up degree programmes in Construction and Management and Civil Engineering and Management to about 50 students, he said.

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