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General News Sat, 26 May 2001

Polytechnics to attract priority attention of government

President John Agyekum Kufuor on Saturday assured polytechnics in the country of the government's special attention in modernizing their training facilities, addressing their infrastructure inadequacies and upgrading their human resource base.

He, therefore, appealed to manufacturing companies and financial institutions as direct beneficiaries of skills of the polytechnic graduates to lend their support to efforts at raising the quality of polytechnic education.

These were in an address read for him at the second congregation of the Ho Polytechnic at Ho, involving 1005 students who completed various Higher National Diploma (HND) courses in 1999 and 2000.

President Kufuor said the Scholarships Secretariat will be required to give special attention to the training needs of polytechnic students and staff in addition to seeking donor assistance towards skills training for polytechnic teachers.

The President said it is imperative to raise polytechnic education to a high pedestal because the country "needs graduates who are capable of using knowledge and skills to improve upon local technology as well as adapt imported technology to suit local needs."

"Polytechnic graduates in particular, because of their career-focused training have an important role to play in national development", President Kufuor said.

He said the special focus on the polytechnics is therefore necessary especially as they are new institutions, which are struggling against all odds to meet the objectives for which they were established.

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President Kufuor said the government would also create the necessary conditions to stem the brain drain from the country.

He urged the products of the polytechnics to aim at self-employment and employment generation as a vindication of the education reform programme.

In his welcoming address, Professor Frank O. Kwami, Chairman of the Ho Polytechnic Council said the polytechnics require the infusion of great amounts of resources to enable them attain the capacities required for training the stock of human capital the country requires for its rapid growth.

He said the phenomenal advancement of the East Asian countries was attained because they invested heavily in human capital development in several career focused first class technological manpower-training institutions, which interact, actively with industry.

Prof. Kwami said unless polytechnics in the country receive similar attention from stakeholders, the aim of their establishment will be defeated and the country would be the loser.

"We trust that His Excellency's Government will usher us into an era of growth of the polytechnics," Prof. Kwami said.

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He reminded the grandaunts that their true worth will depend on the quality of their output on the job, as industry rewards according to demonstrated competencies.

In his report Dr. George Mawusi Afeti, Principal of the Polytechnic said in spite of the constraints facing the polytechnic it has expanded its scope of relevance by adopting innovations to enrich the competency of its students.

Dr Afeti said the current level of 55 percent funding of the recurrent budgetary requirement of the polytechnic is too low to make for effective training to international standards.

He said the country has no choice but to make heavy investment in polytechnic education because of the rewarding dividends this will bring towards national development, poverty alleviation and raising of living standards.

Dr. Afeti said as from next year, the polytechnic would offer short courses in simple car maintenance, painting and decorating, proper use and maintenance of electric home appliances and bread making for those willing to acquire handy basic skills.

Source: GNA