25.08.2005 General News

Polytechnic products rule the labour market

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Accra, Aug. 25, GNA - The Commonwealth Association of Polytechnics in Africa (CAPA) on Thursday resolved that Polytechnics should stick to their mandate of training technical skilled manpower for industry and commerce to satisfy the labour market with quality products. They also said Polytechnics need not convert to universities but should try to run degree and higher degree programmes.

These were contained in a communiqu=E9 issued at the end of a four-day seminar attended by Commonwealth Association of Polytechnics in Africa in Accra under the theme: "The Role of Technical Vocational Education and Training in the Post-Second Millennium Era." Some its sub-themes were: "The Role of Technical and Vocational Education in Africa's Economic Development: Are the Polytechnics Still Relevant" and "Most Good Polytechnics in Africa are turning into Universities. Is This a Healthy Development?"

The communiqu=E9 called on governments of the various Commonwealth African countries not pay lip service to polytechnic education but to rather give the necessary resources to the institutions to enable them to fulfil their mandate.

It urged governments to create the enabling environment for Polytechnics to collaborate with industry to help to equip and prepare the students to meet the demands of the workforce. The seminar was organized by CAPA in collaboration with the Conference of Polytechnic Principals in Ghana and attended by about hundred Principals and polytechnic teachers in Africa. The communiqu=E9 called for the harmonization of salaries and conditions of service of Polytechnic staff with those of other institutions of higher learning.

It said Polytechnics should vigorously enter into partnerships with the private sector and link programmes with other institutions. The communiqu=E9 also said each Polytechnic should identify its strengths and weakness and concentrate on the strengths to make the institution a centre of excellence.

African countries must formulate and implement TVET reform programmes for accelerated industrial and socio-economic development. The Association also decided that in view of the visible HIV/AIDS menace, every Polytechnic should have an HIV/AIDS Policy and HIV/AIDS Education should be incorporation in the curricula of Polytechnics.

The communiqu=E9 also urged governments to support the democratisation process, ensure good governance and eradicate poverty in order to achieve the objectives of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Mrs Gifty Ohene-Konadu, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, said in the age of globalisation, liberalisation and rapid technological changes, technical and vocational education was a development instrument for countries of the North and South alike.

She said countries that had invested in the TVET such as South East Asia tended to be more productive and competitive in the various sectors of agriculture, industry and services, adding that those that had not been able to develop their TVET sector faced the threat of being marginalized and Ghana and Africa could not afford to be left behind by neglecting the development of the sector.

She said the Ministry of Education and Sports was thus coming out with a comprehensive policy framework to develop the sector to remove the negative perception of polytechnic, technical and vocational education.

Mrs Ohene-Konadu said the Ministry sought to use its policies for export-led industrialisation drive and domestic market oriented.

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