Polytechnic Education not important

Thu, 11 Oct 2012 Source: Mensah, Isaac

: Plans to Convert Ghana's Polytechnics to Universities

Let me start by saying that is not Political but a "silent" policy of the Education Ministry, the process started during the NPP era through this current administration, but officially captured in the just lunched NDC manifesto for 2012: "Polytechnics will be officially affiliated to Universities to run and award degrees programmers ", This shows how are not serious with our educational system to the extent that those in charge don't seem to know the difference in purposes between a Polytechnic and a university.

Currently, over 90% of the programmes currently offered in polytechnics are not Technical / Technology related, From Marketing, Accounting, Insurance, Statistics to Business studies etc. Basically, strip down replica of the programmes offered in the University. Polytechnics have lost the focus and now seems to be in competition with Universities in terms of the reading programmes.

Access to Polytechnic Education by students from Technical Schools / institutes was blocked and opened wider to those from the Secondary Schools. That is how come a visual arts student ends up graduating in HND Mechanical Engineering after 2years. As to how he will perform when employed, well I don't know , but I know for curtain that no private company will employ this graduate and teach him how to use Allen Keys or operate a Lathe machine. One of the main remarks made by the Ghana Employers Associations and the Association of Ghana Industries was the fact that most of the current Graduates produced by this education system are unfit for the job market and hence unemployable. The Private sector /Companies employes the few best ones and the Government comes in for the rest and we all see how it plays out when the Government is unable to as usual employ 5 people to the do the same job per IMF directives, Unemployed Graduates Association is formed!. Part of the problem also has to do with Educational institutions choosing courses for students, rather than the students choosing what they want and are interested in. So you get students reading courses they are really not interested in and the whole dislike attitude is transferred into the work place and everyone who has been to most of the Government offices know what I'm talking about.

Back to the issue, At least its now clear that our goal as a country is to turn all the Polytechnics to Universities, Our Polytechnics were supposed to be the Pinnacle of Industrial and Technological Research, give Support and develop new technologies for the transformation of our economy of our country. They were to produce well trained Human Man Power to also drive the development needs of this country and our leaders don't see their use. The effects is what we are seeing today. Not a every single project, be it Road contraction or Renolvation of State building to the installation of streets lights on the Tema motorway, Technicians and Artisans for these projects are brought from other countries mainly china and india and now that the Technician Programmes and courses in our Technical institutes and some Polytechnics have also been officially scraped, things will get interesting. Apparently Ghana dosen't need Technicians anymore and when we eventually do, we will simply import them just as we do when with everything we need. Our policy makers now don't consider HND as a tertiary programme, that is why HND graduates have to spend another 2 to 3 years doing Top -ups in a University for a degree in the same field.

Our leaders are aware that its very expensive to equip, maintain and run Polytechnics compared to Universities as is the case in advanced countries and because they don't know why, their brilliant idea is to save throw out the equipments and turned them into Universities.

its sad that most of the equipment in the Polytechnics were donated by development agencies of these advance countries like JAICA ( Japan ) and DANIDA ( Denmark ) as they saw education and training of the middle level man power necessary developmental needs of every country. Our job was to maintain them and use them in training our students but Our Governments would rather see them brake down by not providing money for their maintenance. We will later go to these same agencies for loans and use part of the loan to pay the Technicians we import.

The Link below is to a Press statement in issued by the Polytechnics Teachers Association of Ghana and was addressed to the current Government I think they are not amused with the current developments and positions may soon taken over by the university lecturers.

Ghanaian don't deserve this from our Governments, ( past, present and future) Lets draw our MPs attentions to this issue as no country can and will ever develop without Technical Education.

Thanks for your time.

Isaac Mensah,

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Columnist: Mensah, Isaac