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General News Sat, 30 Sep 2006

Gov't to develop salary structure for Polytechnics

Ho, Sept. 30, GNA - Government through the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) has begun the process of developing an equitable salary structure for Polytechnics in the country.


Alhaji Aliu Mahama, Vice-President announced this at the sixth congregation and inauguration of a 1,200 capacity auditorium and a four-storey central classroom block at Ho Polytechnic on Saturday.


The projects and others funded by GETFUND were estimated at about 54 billion cedis.


Other projects were a three-storey extension to the existing library, a modern hostel to accommodate 450 students and 12-units of three-bedroom flats for staff.


Alhaji Mahama said the need for the review had been necessitated by the Government's recognition that the Polytechnics could not employ and retain quality teachers because of the unattractive salaries.


He noted that the unattractive salaries at the Polytechnics had not been ideal based on the fact that they were in competition with industry, which offered better salaries for the same calibre of personnel.


The Vice President therefore; appealed to staff of Polytechnics in the country to hold their fire and allow for time to enable the relevant stakeholders conclude negotiations and consultations on the salary structure.


"The government will keep its side of the bargain," he assured.


Alhaji Mahama implored industry to help ease the financial burden on government in funding polytechnic education, which was an expensive undertaking in view of its practical skills orientation.

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He suggested to stakeholders in industry to offer scholarships and training grants to students and enterprising lecturers to enhance their capacity to provide the requisite human resources for the Polytechnics and industry.


The Vice-President congratulated the Principal and staff of Ho-Polytechnic "for achieving the landmark distinction of being the first Polytechnic in the country to be granted accreditation to offer the Bachelor of Technology degree in selected programmes."


He reminded the Polytechnic of the enormous responsibility that the recognition entailed and urged the management to craft programmes rich in practical content capable of responding to the needs of industry and the labour market.


Alhaji Mahama said the ability of the Polytechnic to measure up to the challenge entailed in its enhanced status would be crucial in the decision to extend similar opportunities to other Polytechnics to offer similar degree programmes in future.


The Vice-President appealed to the new graduands to resist the temptation to seek greener pastures abroad and rather put their knowledge and skills at the service of the country. "The future of this country is bright and you can make it brighter and greener," he said.


Alhaji Mahama assured those who possessed entrepreneurial acumen and skills that "They will realise that going into private business may yield handsome dividends." On the significance of the new auditorium, the Vice-President said, "Ho Municipality and Volta region can now boast of a world-class conference facility for hosting major regional, national and international events."


Professor Frank Obed Kwami, Chairman of the Ho


Polytechnic Council expressed gratitude to Government for its


continuing financial support especially through the GETFUND,

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which "is progressively taking care of our physical development


needs." However, he appealed to Government to increase its


subvention to the Polytechnic to enable it offer improved quality


education and training especially skills training which was very


expensive. Professor Kwami said though the Polytechnic continued to


make strenuous efforts to generate income internally, "The


outcome of these efforts is rather insignificant since it finds its


capacity to do so limited at its present stage of development." He said, "Too much concentration on income generation at


this stage will make the Polytechnic lose sight of its core

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business and its immediate educational objectives." Professor Kwami urged Government to muster the political will to address the issue of improved conditions of service especially salaries of the Polytechnic community to ensure stability for serious and uninterrupted academic work. He said 93For now frequent interruptions of academic work in the Polytechnics have resulted in diminishing returns with the consequent loss of sympathy to the plight of those institutions.=94


Professor Kwami assured the graduands that they could "go places" with the Higher Diploma qualifications they had attained, but "The true worth of this Diploma however will depend on the quality of your output on the job."


He therefore, urged them to emulate their predecessors whose quality outputs on the job had earned an enviable reputation for the Polytechnic.


Professor Kwami commended Dr George Mawusi Afeti, Out-going pioneer Principal of the Polytechnic for the past 13 years for providing "exemplary and quality leadership which has raised the visibility and reputation of the Polytechnic at the national and international level."


Similarly, he commended Mr Kofi Osei-Afoakwa the pioneer Finance Officer of the Polytechnic for bequeathing to the Polytechnic "a firm foundation for the financial administration and management of the Polytechnic" at the end of his 11 years duty with the Polytechnic.


Dr Afeti said the Polytechnic had come far with tremendous growth and improvement in the quality of its infrastructure, information technology, human resource and products.


He mentioned some of the landmark facilities as a wireless internet service provided through its V-sat internet backbone, a new 120 computer centre bringing the number of computers available for teaching in the Polytechnic to 250 for a student population of about 2,500 students.


"The student-to-computer ratio is 10:1, a figure far superior to the 20:1 ratio recommended by UNESCO," Dr Afeti said.


"The number of lecturers possessing post-graduate

qualification has also increased by 1,000 per cent from four in 1993 to 50 in 2006," he said.


'Student population has also grown by more than 50 per cent from about 1,400 to 2,500 now while stocks of library holdings have tripled to more than 15,000 volumes of modern textbooks, technical journals and periodicals with the library itself being fully air-conditioned,=94 Dr Afeti said.


Other developments included 300 per cent increase in the fleet of vehicles including a ten-fold increase in the nmber of members of staff who owned cars.


Dr Afeti said the financial control and monitoring systems at the Polytechnic had also been strengthened leading to the computerisation of the system of recording and reporting of financial transactions.


He said the Polytechnic had also secured 66,000 dollars from the Teaching and Learning innovation Fund (TALIF) to implement its HIV/AIDS policy, the first to be developed by a tertiary institution in the country.


Dr Afeti commended the Polytechnic Council for its collective wisdom and selfless service that propelled the Polytechnic to its present prestige.


He also acknowledged the goodwill of the Chiefs and people of the Ho Asogli Traditional Area and the excellent performance of graduands of the Polytechnic whose excellent performance in industry continued to boost the image of the institution. Dr Afeti acknowledged that there had been trying moments during his tenure and assured staff and workers that, "You are my friends and you will remain my friends" reminding them that "The most enduring legacy that will follow you, will be what you leave behind, not what you take away."

Source: GNA