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Tamale poly must live above hiring robes

Sat, 25 May 2013 Source: Ziem, Joseph

By Joseph Ziem

A hilarious but somewhat unprecedented story is told of a groom who was called to give a vote of thanks at the end of his wedding reception. He took the microphone from the master of ceremonies and began: “I’ll first of all give thanks to the Almighty God for bringing me and my wife together in a holy matrimony accord. I’ll also thank my mother-in-law for giving birth to this beautiful young woman who is now my wife; she has made me proud because my friends are jealous of her marrying someone like me. I won’t forget my brother-in-law for borrowing me his suit and pair of shoes to wear and my sister-in-law for also borrowing my wife her wedding gown. I also owe a debt of gratitude to all my close neighbours for contributing ingredients towards the preparation of food and ……….”

It was a rather long speech and not a vote of thanks as expected, so I’ve decided to cut it shot in order to avoid getting you my dear reader bored or laugh off your head. Besides, the reason why I gave the scenario above is because of the way and manner authorities of the Tamale Polytechnic seemed to have over the years chosen to stoop so low anytime they held their graduation and matriculation ceremonies.

For instance, I was at the Tamale Polytechnic recently to attend its 7th congregation and what caught my attention again was an eyesore; and so I decided to draw the attention of authorities to it in this write-up supposing they haven’t realized the disgrace they have been bringing upon themselves and the school.

I have covered almost all congregations and matriculations of the Tamale Polytechnic since I launched my career as journalist in the Northern Region in 2006. I have been part of the advocacy process of eliciting support from governments and private institutions for the polytechnic as well as peer reviewing its conduct and achievements most especially where it has faulted and drawing the attention of authorities to that for correction.

Thus, I want to know for how long they [authorities] would continue to hire robes from the University for Development Studies [UDS] anytime the Polytechnic is organizing its graduation and matriculation ceremonies? Please, I’m not the only person asking this hard but simple question, because it’s a known fact that graduating students pay money every year towards their graduation expenses. They pay for printing of certificates, hiring of robes, renting of canopies, and so on and so forth.

But, what is disgusting is the fact that, robes used by masters degree holders of the UDS are also hired or borrowed for the lecturers of the Tamale Polytechnic to wear. It’s so easy to identify these robes often adorn by students and their lecturers during such important occasions because the badge of the UDS is embroidered on all of them. Some people even suspect what the Rector and Governing Council Chairman of the Polytechnic wear are also hired from the UDS.

As one of the oldest and largest Polytechnics in Ghana, I think the authorities must stop belittling themselves with some of these pettiness of hiring, otherwise a time will come they would behave like the groom who borrowed almost everything to do his wedding. Did I hear someone say God forbid?

If [Tamale Poly] really want to be independent or grow, it ought to stop depending on people or institutions for almost every little support including clothes and work hard towards being independent. It must maximize its resources by making very good use of the little available.

The Tamale Polytechnic metamorphosed from a technical institute into a tertiary institution at the time the UDS also started. Polytechnics I understand charge exorbitant school fees than universities in this country and so, how come Tamale Polytechnic would have to be depending on UDS for almost a decade now for support [robes] which if they [authorities] had been making serious, perhaps should have been able to procure their own robes by now.

Moreover, the polytechnic teaches fashion and design and this gives it a competitive advantage over other tertiary institutions in the region because students can be used to sew robes for the school’s congregation and matriculation ceremonies. For instance, as an institution running technical courses, I don’t think authorities should be awarding certain construction or refurbishment work on contract to outsiders. Please maximize the use of the human resource you’re training by engaging them in things such as painting of the school, welding windows/doors, construction of toilet/urinary facilities, building classroom and office furniture, and among others.

Can anyone imagine the amount of money the polytechnic would have made or saved if authorities had been engaging their students in such activities as part of their practical training? Your guess is as good as mine.

Unfortunately, I’ve been informed by insiders in the Tamale Polytechnic that such little works are often awarded on contract for outsiders to do. The school lacks places of convenience as students constantly engage in open defecation and urinating in any corner they find. The polytechnic would have been richer than any tertiary institution if authorities had used its skilled men and women to produce robes for other schools; offer painting/decorating services; manufacture classroom and office furniture as well as windows for private and public institutions in the region.

Are authorities of the Tamale Polytechnic thirsty in the midst of plenty water or these challenges have engulfed them because of inefficient leadership? Please, the people of the Northern Region and for that matter Ghana, needs a dynamic and results-oriented polytechnic management and not pen pushers.

Seriously Mr. Rector, you and your officers MUST be innovative and creative from now on if you really want the polytechnic to be the centre of excellence that you wish it to be. In recent times, it’s obvious that governments are increasingly getting tired of providing support to public institutions and as a technical institution, Tamale Polytechnic should adopt innovative ways of developing itself instead of constantly relying on governmental support all the time.

Mr. Rector, at the polytechnic’s 7th congregation, you stated that you wanted an auditorium and a fence wall. Besides, you wanted to renovate the lecture halls and senior staff common room of the school. Mr. Rector, I personally think that the polytechnic can use its students to do all these things under the supervision of their lecturers as part of practical lessons. May I suggest to you that students engaged should be paid aside the fact that they will be assessed by their lecturers for good performances and marks awarded for academic purposes so that they feel motivated to give off their best anytime they are asked to do such work. Before I forget Mr. Rector, you can sell this great idea to GETFund and the government so that the cost of constructing edifices for schools such as yours can be reduced since students will be engaged to build their school infrastructures. Thank you Sir!

The writer is a freelance journalist. Views or comments may be sent to him via ziemjoseph@yahoo.com/ +233 207344104.

Columnist: Ziem, Joseph