Student enrollment at the Yamfo Vocational Training Institute in the Tano North District of Brong-Ahafo Region has reduced drastically following the implementation of the free Senior High School (SHS) programme in this academic year.
The institute is part of the public school system and enrolment for each academic year stood at 150, but because it is not benefiting from the free SHS programme, only 42 students applied and gained admission to pursue various vocational programmes for the 2017/2018 academic year.
According to Mr. Philip Effah Atakorah, the Manager of the Institute, there was the need to give attention to vocational institutes in order not to collapse that sector in ensuing years.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Yamfo on Tuesday, Mr Atakorah appealed to the government to include vocational and technical institutions on the free SHS programme, saying that was the surest way to revive and save those public schools from collapsing.
He expressed discomfort that many parents could not afford to pay the GHC176.00 school fees per term, a situation which was affecting serious academic work.
Mr Atakorah observed that any country which underestimated technical and vocational education could not develop fast since the sector provided the requisite skills training and experienced middle-level human resource base needed for development.
He was however unhappy that successive governments continued to sideline technical and vocational education.
Mr Atakorah regretted that the institute started in 1977 and was retooled only in 1998, adding it had since then been battling with obsolete equipment and tools because of the problem of the extremely high monthly electricity bills.
He said the institute did not have any vehicle and work on the construction of girls hostel had stalled because of the lack of funds and appealed to the government and corporate bodies to come to their aid.
Mr Atakorah added that with the current population of 326, the institute offered programmes in General Electricals, Masonry, Catering as well as Carpentry and Joinery.
He said the Institute had 27 teaching and non-teaching staff and it was planning to celebrate its 40th anniversary on November 24 this year, and appealed to the general public to support it.