Takoradi, May 28, -GNA -Mr Freddie Blay, First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, on Saturday called on the Polytechnics to come out with innovative ideas on how the country could add value to her primary products.
He made the call at the fourth congregation of the Takoradi Polytechnic at Takoradi, at which 738 persons who graduated in 2003 were presented with certificates.
Mr Blay said Ghana cannot achieve middle-income status until value is added to her primary products and the economy is diversified to make tourism one of its mainstays.
He said, "Polytechnics have a crucial role to play in transforming our methods of production from the present stage to a more sophisticated level to make for efficiency and a more prudent use of resources." Mr Blay said the pace of industrialisation required to propel the country into middle- income status could only be accelerated if she broadens its human resource base and equip it with technical expertise and innovative skills.
He said, "Polytechnics have a crucial role to play in reducing, if not eliminating completely, the use of hard earned foreign exchange to import simple implements that could be manufactured locally to generate employment and improve income".
Mr Blay noted that the Polytechnic is to phase out all non-tertiary courses in favour of Higher National Diploma programmes in order to produce skills to support industry.
He said this decision of the Polytechnic is in response to calls by the government through the National Council for Tertiary Education for Polytechnics to draw lessons from the Asian giants that have developed mainly through technological advancement.
Mr Blay said, "We as a country must give meaning to the philosophy of first President of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, which has become a cardinal principle of NEPAD, that Africa should be developed by Africans."
Professor Daniel Mireku-Gyimah, Chairman of the Polytechnic Council, said the Polytechnic is vigorously pursuing staff development. He said the academic staffs are being encouraged to upgrade themselves to obtain PhD and MSC degrees in order to strengthen the staff of the Polytechnic.
Professor Mireku-Gyimah said the Polytechnic Council has asked the Principal to deal drastically with any student or staff who indulges in any examination malpractice.
Professor Mireku-Gyimah said this is because the proper conduct of examinations is one sure way of giving credibility to the academic programmes run by the Polytechnic.
He said the poor salary structure and conditions of service of the staff of the Polytechnic has not seen any improvement and continues to be a major factor why qualified staff cannot be attracted into the system.
Professor Mireku-Gyimah asked the Minister of Education to resolve the issue once and for all.
He said the Council is taking steps to terminate contracts on school projects that have been unduly delayed or for shoddy work. Dr Samuel Obeng Apori, the Principal of the Polytechnic, said a student who indulged in fraudulent practices and his accomplice, a staff member, have been dismissed.
He said 23 students have also been dismissed and four others rusticated for one year for various examination malpractices. Dr Apori said another student, who physically caused bodily harm to a first year student for resisting "ponding" has also been dismissed after appearing before a disciplinary committee.
Dignitaries who attended the congregation included Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Western Regional Minister, Madam Sophia Horner-Sam, Deputy Regional Minister and Mrs Angelina Baiden-Amissah, Deputy Minister of Education and Sports.