General News Fri, 29 Nov 2002
The Minister of Education has said that about 40 per cent of Junior Secondary School (JSS) graduates through out the country gained admission into Senior Secondary Schools (SSS) this year.
He expressed regret that the remaining 60 per cent of graduates were struggling to survive on the streets without any bright future. Prof Akumfi-Akumfi was speaking at the commissioning of a $20m Vocational Technical Resource Centre (VOTEC) at Twene Amanfo Secondary Technical School in Sunyani.
"The centre was established under the Ghana-Netherlands VOTEC Resource Centres Project, which involved the supply and installation of training equipment and materials, technical assistance, including consultancy and staff development.
The minister said the project was a major component of the education reform programme to strengthen 20 existing technical and vocational institutions including five secondary schools.
The programme is aimed at improving the delivery of technical and learning education in technical institutions to produce skilled personnel for national development.
Prof Ameyaw-Akumfi noted that VOTEC centres were established to solve the endemic problems confronting technical and vocational schools and to strengthen capacity to enable the institutions to perform the vital role they were expected to play to increase enrolment levels.
The establishment of the resource centres, two in each region, was to improve facilities and capacities of technical institutions and to enhance orientation of school leavers, mostly JSS graduates, towards self-employment by impacting entrepreneurial skills to them, he added.
Prof Ameyaw-Akumfi called on persons in the industrial sector to utilise the resource centres and other programmes offered at technical and vocational institutions.
"The Ministry of Education would like to see the emergence of a strong linkage and fruitful co-operation between industrial establishments and the institutions.''
"In this way, industry can influence the curricula of these institutions for the mutual benefit of industry and the institutions, which would produce the requisite skilled manpower for the survival of the former."
Prof Ameyaw-Akumfi urged beneficiaries to maintain the building and training facilities and entreated district assemblies to ensure the early completion of the rehabilitation and construction of the centres.
Mrs Akuah Debrah, acting Brong Ahafo Regional Director of Education, advised parents and students to discard the idea that VOTEC training was for the "never-do-well" students, saying the area needed highly intelligent people with initiative and drive.
She said the project would enable the youth to acquire the requisite skills to become employable, "since many young men and women parading the streets are unemployed because they lacked employable skills."
Mrs Debrah said drug abuse; armed robbery and other deviant behaviours mostly by the youth undermined the growth and security of the nation. The acting Regional Director advised women to move from traditional female vocations to auto-engineering, building technology, welding.
She said out of the 133 students enrolled for the VOTEC programmes this year, only 25 students were girls. Mrs Debrah, therefore, urged parents to encourage their girls to rub shoulders with the boys for sustained national development.