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17.01.2020 Article

NDC To Expand And Improve Free SHS; Make All Technical And Vocational

By Elijah Tiimob
NDC To Expand And Improve Free SHS; Make All Technical And Vocational
LISTEN JAN 17, 2020

NDC must expand and improve free SHS; make all technical and vocational education FREE to accelerate growth and development.

It does not make sense that the much-touted free SHS is made available to all second cycle institutions with the exception of technical and vocational schools. NPP, as always, masters the art of “divide and rule”, but they will not get away with it this time. If Ghana is to make progress in her quest for technological development, these are exactly the institutions we must expand, improve and avail to all of our youths free of charge.

There has been a long-standing over-emphasis on the humanities in Ghana without a commensurate push to absorb those who study them into meaningful employment. It is therefore, not surprising that the economy cannot find jobs for many graduates. This is becoming increasingly worrisome and a change in course is long overdue.

Ghana is badly in need of locally designed and manufactured equipment for practically all sectors of the economy. Virtually anything that requires electronic or mechanical equipment, ranging from radio sets to tractors is imported. We cannot run a successful economy in this day and age when even the most basic of our needs (toothpick in mind) are imported, making other countries wealthier at our own expense.

It is now clear that the NPP government has failed to deliver any form of industrialisation and NDC must take up that mantle. As a matter of fact, the NPP never had any intentions of building factories; they only used that one district, one factory mantra to deceive Ghanaians into voting for them.

The rudiments of any form of sustained manufacturing lies in a well educated and well trained technical workforce and Ghana cannot make any meaningful progress unless we bite the bullet and train people who can actually do the handiwork. Our overemphasis on the humanities has not taken us very far as a country in 60 years of self-rule. It is time to change direction and NDC is poised to navigate that new direction. No other political party is capable of doing so as things stand.

Leading industrialised countries in the world recognise the contribution of technical education makes to their ranking in the world. As a result, they put a lot of resources into technical education and their output speaks for itself. It’s not everyone who needs a degree. As a matter of fact, what is the point of churning out a lot of graduates when the economy cannot absorb them into worthwhile employment? What Ghana needs is technicians who can design and mass produce electronic calculators for our schools; mobile phones, tablets and computers for internal consumption and for export; wood works experts who can convert our vast timber resources into world class furniture for local consumption and for export; professional bricklayers, masons, electricians, vocational experts who can make good, downstream use of the growing oil and gas industry.

We need to define technical needs that are unique to our way of life and charge our vocational institutions with the responsibility of satisfying those needs through practical education. A case in point is our traffic lights, which can be extremely confusing any driver who is not familiar with the area in question. Our technical institutions can standardise them and make them unique to Ghanaian traffic. We can and we must use technical education to solve our perennial problems of drought, flooding, erosion, excessive heat in buildings, weak structures that easily succumb to wind or storms, and so on. We must invent and produce easy-to-use equipment to help our farmers plant seeds, water crops, harvest, clean, dry, package and market farm produce in a more organised way, than what happens currently.

Targeted technical institutions create and institutionalise targeted solutions to everyday problems countries face. That is the beginning of development as we know it. We can, and we must devise our own solutions for our unique problems. Ghanaians all over the world are innovators. We solve technological problems for the world. So why not do so for ourselves? We are not and have never been inferior to any other nationality on planet earth. Some of us have sat in classrooms with other nationalities and they were never better than us in any measurable parameter. So why are we allowing ourselves to live as second rate citizens of the world? We can do it and the starting point is to believe in ourselves and our abilities.

Technical education is the engine of modern enterprise and it is high time we equipped our youth with the requisite skills to set up small scale businesses that could kickstart our comatose economy. We cannot afford to continue to rely on foreign expertise to solve our basic problems. Ranging from sanitation to rocket building, vocational skills are exactly the answer we need to transform the lives of Ghanaians and fellow Africans. Any government that is bold enough to rejig our education in favour of vocational training is bound to transform Ghana into a modern 21st Century nation. NDC is best placed to form that government and it all begins with expanding free SHS to include all technical and vocational institutions.

Contrary to government propaganda, the NDC will not, and has no business canceling free SHS. The leader of our party has made that unambiguously clear so many times. What we will do is expand and improve it, and ensure it serves the real, practical needs of our entire nation. Education is a right for all Ghanaians, not a privileged few and NDC will make sure every child everywhere in our country benefits from free and compulsory primary and secondary education. No child, 17 years or younger should be allowed to leave school, nor should they be loitering our streets unchallenged during school hours. Technical and vocational education, the real engine of development will no longer be left out in the cold, in the most botched implementation of a flagship policy that Ghana has ever seen.

Elijah Tiimob
London, UK.