Technical Education in Ghana – The Case for “Ghana Institute of Technology”
By 2020, the year set aside for our great nation, Ghana, to become the first sub Saharan African country to achieve middle income status, is fast approaching – just a decade away (already many policy makers believe the country will achieve this fate by 2015), and the question many polytechnic students up and down the country are asking is, “Will Polytechnic education gain or lose value as a tertiary education model?”
With 10 Polytechnics in the country and numerous Nurses Training Colleges, a new university, Ghana Institute of Technology (GIT) will become the country’s biggest university and the most innovative. Although Ghana is among very few countries that have kept the Polytechnic sector, however countries such as United Kingdom, New Zealand and Hong Kong have either amalgamated their polytechnics with specific universities or converted them into full universities.
Research conducted by the 10 polytechnics shows that the country’s polytechnic sector continues to expand and that there is increasing demand from students and employers. Approximately 1 in 3 students in Ghana opt for a polytechnic education or nurses training college.
The 10 Polytechnics and nursing training colleges produce superb talents who are readily equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge demanded by the industry and hospitals/clinics. By turning the polytechnics into an Institute of Technology, the institution will have a total of ten major campuses in the country. Aside from infrastructure, the institution will seek sponsorship from companies and organizations to provide scholarship places for skillful artisans such as those at Kumasi Industrial slum.
With the establishment of such an institution, many overseas varsities will offer their degree programmes through GIT and to help diploma holders upgrade their qualifications to a degree.
Teaching staff will have the opportunity for further training and upgrading, and possibly take up their PhDs to prepare themselves for the role. This new institute of technology will set up close partnership with prestigious institutions such Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from United States, Technische Universitat Muchchen (Munich Technical University), London South Bank University and others.
It is well known fact that many Polytechnic graduates who cannot get into universities in Ghana usually go abroad to pursue a degree at great expense and a loss of skill to the country. Thus with the establishment of Ghana’s 7th university and the biggest, more of our polytechnic graduates will be able to obtain their degree through tie-ups with reputable foreign universities, as well as by enrolling in Ghana’s best Institute of Technology. Students would be able to access courses such as applied sciences and engineering, digital media and health sciences. The Institute would help power Ghana’s economy through knowledge and innovation.
Students of the new university will benefit greatly from having prestigious universities as partner. Apart from students’ and employers’ preferences, the new Institute of Technology will be the back bone of Ghana’s take off, with employers not only looking for paper qualifications, but employees with the relevant skills and work attitude that add to their company. Already the 10 Polytechnics have systematically built up close links with industry partners, thus enabling them to produce practice oriented and industry relevant graduates who are deemed to the best trained in West Africa.
By establishing an Institute of Technology, polytechnic education would be strengthened to provide opportunities for polytechnic graduates. The new university, Ghana Institute of Technology (or whatever name the authorities may decide on) will allow each of the 10 polytechnics to focus on their core area of study and not dilute key strength.
Graduates from the new Institute of Technology skills’ and knowledge would be increasingly necessary for the country as we seek to improve productivity which often requires technological innovation. With a huge alumni to draw upon (from WA to Takoradi Polytechnic), from Sekondi Nurses Training College to Midwifery Training School, Bolgatanga) resources and establish contacts and networks across the globe that can translate into an economic advantage to the country.
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