Accra, Nov 19, GNA - Professor Ralph Kingston Asabere, Principal of Accra Polytechnic, on Saturday said poor condition of services in the country's polytechnics is making it difficult for them to attract and retain qualified staff.
He said some of the graduate lecturers only used polytechnics as a stepping-stone to land them into well-paid jobs.
"The result is the lack of lecturers, which then put a lot of pressure on the handful available," he added. Prof. Asabere, who was speaking at the Fifth Congregation ceremony of the Accra Polytechnic, said although the polytechnic authorities have been repeating that at every available occasion, the problem still persists and appealed to the government to assist them in addressing the issue.
Over 2000 students graduated for the two-year groups -2003/ 2003 and 2004/2005 academic years and were conferred with Higher National Diploma certificates in the various fields of specialities. The 2003 group could not graduate in 2004 due to the numerous strike actions by both students and lecturers, which eventually delayed their final examinations.
Prof Asabere also mentioned lack of big students' hostel as one of the pressing needs of the institution as they are currently accommodating less than 10 per cent of the student population and appealed for government's intervention to assist them acquire land closer to the school for the purpose.
"The trials and tribulations, stumbling moments and hibernating periods must be over for polytechnics to fulfil the mandate of providing the special expertise to develop the technology for effective industrialisation in Ghana," he said.
The Principal said Accra Polytechnic has come a long way and did not merely wish to fulfil its mandate, but wish to become a pride of the nation, in providing and feeding industries with the requisite manpower. He said Polytechnic education was the cornerstone upon which rests the country's surest hope to build a society, which would be worthy of a respectable place among civilised nations of the world. This, he said could only be achieved "if we give the relevant type of education the right focus and the needed supports from our governments".
In a speech read on his behalf by Captain Nkrabea Effah Dartey (rtd), Deputy Minister of the Interior, President J.A Kufuor said the emphasis on educational system worldwide is being shifted away from the mere acquisition of academic qualifications to the acquisition of practical knowledge and in-depth understanding of the production environment.
He said to ensure the success of that agenda government continue to make interventions to equip polytechnics adequately to impart not only academic and practical knowledge, but also, instil patriotism and sound moral precepts into the future generations.
President Kufuor said polytechnics have come a long way since their inception and government had recognised the enthusiasm with which the leadership of the polytechnics wished to sustain the institutions. "We should therefore, guard the achievements with jealousy and not allow intellectual laziness or partisan politics to eat into it. My appeal is to all stakeholders, politicians, industry and others to help and contribute meaningfully to the course of the polytechnics," he added.
He urged polytechnic authorities to make enough preparation towards the newly accredited programme - Bachelor of Technology programmes (B'TECH)- so that the programme would be sustainable and relevant to the goals of the polytechnics when it takes off.
"As it is said, slow and steady wins the race. We should not therefore rush to upgrade our polytechnics to degree awarding institutions if it becomes evident that we are not yet ready. Take your time and identify the bottlenecks and impediments that are likely to beset the proposed B-Tech programmes and deal with them before the take-off.
"Government would appeal and encourage curriculum developers to always keep abreast with the changing needs of industry and design their learning material accordingly, to suit these needs," he said. President Kufuor also stressed the need to train the students to meet the challenges of the knowledge - intensive and technologically to advance economies of the future.
He, therefore, urged the graduands to demonstrate their expertise wherever they would find themselves to make their institutions, guardians and above all Ghana proud.