Technical education has been the launch pad for the development of countries around the world.
However, in times past polytechnic education was misunderstood by many in Ghana. While a section of society had the impression that the Higher National Diploma (HND) was equivalent to a degree, reasoning that technical education was not being given the recognition that it deserved, some members of the public thought otherwise.
That resulted in people becoming uninterested in pursuing technical programmes, leading to little attention being paid to technical education.
At a point the polytechnics had to introduce all manner of liberal arts courses in order to attract students to pursue further studies. Be that as it may, the government decided to upgrade the polytechnics into technical universities.
Sight should not be lost of the fact that the requirements for pursuing academic programmes in the polytechnics were a bit lower than those for the universities. However, with the polytechnics now upgraded to degree-awarding institutions, they are mandated to admit only students of a certain standard as far as academic requirements are concerned.
This has placed some burden on the technical universities, leading to a number of them admitting students who do not have the required grades.
But the National Accreditation Board (NAB) has bared its teeth against the technical universities that have admitted unqualified students. An audit it conducted has revealed that a great number of technical universities do not have ‘qualified’ students to pursue courses in those institutions. It has, therefore, written to the affected institutions to withdraw all unqualified students whose grades do not meet the requirements for admission.
The Daily Graphic is not very surprised at the decision, as, prior to this directive, the board had sent circulars to all technical universities and published same for the information of students, parents and the public that it was an infraction of national admission requirements for tertiary institutions to admit unqualified students to pursue various tertiary programmes.
This is worrying for both the students and their parents because the hope of the former getting that level of education is in danger.
In the circumstance, we advise that the NAB and the affected technical universities should immediately start discussions to see how those students can be helped, such as placing them in diploma or certificate programmes. We cannot afford to see the affected students adding up to those who are already idling home. We must also, as a country, begin to look at lowering the admission grades for technical universities in order to get people to pursue technical and vocational programmes for our development.
We also admonish parents and students alike to always seek accurate information on admission requirements before applying to study to avoid this unfortunate situation from occurring.
But, in saying this, we are at a loss as to why the technical universities, knowing this requirement and receiving a circular on this directive, would still go ahead and admit students they knew were not qualified. We need the technical universities, as, by their practical-oriented nature and set-up, they are a sure instrument for Ghana’s transition into the industrialised bracket. But this should not be done under clear violations of rules and regulations.