A Letter To Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Education Minister Designate...
I bring you fraternal greetings from the people of Atwima, Trede in particular, Adansi Asokwa and the good people of the Ancient Capital, Cape Coast. I must say that, I am delighted to write you this brief letter and hope to continue to write you when the need arises.
Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh aka Napo (Nana Poku), you are one of the young men I admire in the New Patriotic Party. I first heard about you and subsequently read your profile in 2008 when you picked nomination form to contest the Manhyia Constituency primary to succeed Dr Kwame Addo Kufour as the MP. I immediately fell in love with you and became your fan when I read that you were the son of Obaapanin Akua Durowaa, an elder sister of President Kufour and Dr Kwame Addo Kufour. I will not retreat when I found out that you were also the son of Apagyahene, Oheneba Kwame Kyerekyie.
Since, 2008, I have admired you from afar, and have followed you in Parliament. Your deep knowledge and contribution to national discourse be it on security, energy, education, health, environment etc are commendable. I call you "Parliament Utility Player". I was in awe with your contributions during the discussions of the Technical University Bill last year. It was therefore not surprising to me when I heard that you were leading the Transition Team Sub-Committee on Education.
Even though many were those who were expecting President Nana Akufo Addo to name you as the Health Minister, I knew you will be nominated to head the Education Ministry.
Hon. I am highly confident that if you continue to exhibit your humility, knowledge and personality, you will go down as one of the best Education Ministers Ghana has had.
Having graduated from the Cape Coast Polytechnic a decade ago and having followed the processes leading to the conversion of Polytechnics into Technical Education, I humbly offer you the following suggestions to make the Technical University Concept a success: Honourable,
1. You must not only continue the Technical University Concept started by the NDC but call a stakeholder meeting of eminent Ghanaians with expertise in Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) to advise government on how to make these Technical Universities stay within its vision. Having heard the immediate past Minister of Education, Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman speak at the last Congregation of the then Cape Coast Polytechnic in 2016 that stakeholders must submit proposals on how to make the Technical University different from the Polytechnic, I think the consultation process is not over so you must continue with it to make the Technical University Concept a success.
2. You must advise government to commit to train highly skill professionals in Technical and vocational education placing emphasis on specialty. We must not allow all the ten Technical Universities do same programmes without specialisation. Each Technical University must have a unique programme of specialisation that differentiates it from others. For example, I am aware that Accra, Cape Coast, Kumasi, Takoradi and Ho Technical Universities are good in Fashion/Textiles Design, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical/Civil Engineering, Carpentry/Joinery/Wood work and Agricultural Engineering respectively. They must be made to specialise in these areas. Already the Koforidua Technical University wants to calf a niche in entrepreneurial training. We must encourage others to follow suit.
3. You must also advise government to consciously link the One District, One Factory (1D1F) Industrialization Policy to these Universities. Each school must be supported by Government to atleast train craftsmen, technicians and technologists needed to man factories in the regions in which they are located.
4. Help build a strong collaboration between Technical Universities and these factories. This collaboration must begin at the project planning and implementation stages. Technical Universities must be part of planning and implementation of the 1D1F policy. This will make the relationship between the Technical Universities and and the new factories inseparable. Factories will seek technical advice from Technical Universities and students from the Technical Universities will use these factories for practical training (internship).
Hon. please permit me to ask you to remind His Excellency Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo of his promise to convert all ten Polytechnics into Technical Universities for me. Hon at the time of his promise at the then Cape Coast Polytechnic now Technical University, only six Polytechnics had been converted. As we speak eight Polytechnics excluding Bolgatanga and Wa Polytechnics have not been converted. I hope you will assist His Excellency to expedite action in converting the two Polytechnics to make it complete.
Let me use this opportunity to wish you well as you face the Vetting and Appointments Committee of Parliament tomorrow. May the good Lord be with you.
Counting on your cooperation.
(Executive Director, Centre for Leadership and Research)
Email: yawyeboah169 @gmail.com