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27.08.2005 General News

President urges graduates to help reduce unemployment

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Koforidua, Aug. 27, GNA- President John Agyekum Kufuor has called on graduates of the country's Polytechnics to open their own businesses to create employment rather than joining the queues of people seeking employment in existing business enterprises.

He explained that the call was based on the practical nature of the training given to the polytechnic students, coupled with their training in entrepreneurship and the credit facilities available in the system.

This was contained in a speech read on behalf of the President by Professor Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi, Minister for Ports, Harbours and Railways at the Third Congregation of the Koforidua Polytechnic in Koforidua on Saturday.

A total of 514 Higher National Diploma (HND) graduates who completed their studies in the 2003 academic year were presented with their certificates.

President Kufuor asked Polytechnic graduates to be bold and ingenious to enable them to produce acceptable business plans worthy of consideration by financial institutions.

He said graduates who would be able to establish their own businesses would not need to worry about job placement, equivalences of certificates and whether or not they should be senior or junior staff. President Kufuor said the government was continuously examining the problem of how to retain qualified staff in the Polytechnics and pleaded for tolerance as solutions to the problems of the institutions were being sought.

He said laying down of tools at the least opportunity without exhausting all laid down labour procedures only compounded the problems of workers and scared investors.

The Principal of the Koforidua Polytechnic, Dr Henry Appiah, called on the government to review the service conditions of the staff of Polytechnics since the rate at which the institutions were losing their staff to industry and other tertiary institutions was quite alarming.

He said the Polytechnics would be better off if conditions of service of the staff were made attractive enough to entice lecturers from the Universities.

Dr Appiah said the Koforidua Polytechnic had trained 1,769 HND graduates between 1999 and 2003.

Professor Sir Kwabena Boakye-Yiadom, Chairman of the Governing Council of the Polytechnic, said under the GETFund sponsored project this year, four bungalows had been completed and allocated to the staff while the remaining four had reached completion level. He said two 12-Unit classroom blocks, each with a lecture theatre, had also been completed and were being used. Prof. Boakye-Yiadom said rehabilitation works on the auto- mechanic workshop had also been completed.

He said the Polytechnic, through its own internally generated funds, had completed a 509-million cedis block to be use for the HND programme in hospitality, catering and institutional management courses. Prof. Boakye-Yiadom appealed for more funding from the GETFund to enable the Polytechnic to accelerate its infrastructure development programme.

He also called for the publication of the Executive Instrument on the Polytechnic's land and the payment of over two billion cedis compensation due the original landlords of the lands. Ms Mabel Yonyarkie Adjartey, was adjudged the over-all best student for the 2003-year group and was presented with a special award. As part of activities for the congregation, Prof. Sir Boakye-Yiadom launched the five-year strategic plan of the Polytechnic covering 2005 to 2009.