The Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, has charged the governing boards of four technical universities to remove all barriers that prevent students who are determined to acquire technical skills from enrolling at the technical universities.
The minister wondered why some senior high school (SHS) graduates were denied admission simply because they had obtained grade D7 in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
Again, he said, Visual Arts students who were determined to pursue engineering courses should be given the chance because they were most creative and innovative, while science students could also be given the chance to pursue Arts courses at the tertiary level.
The minister, who gave this charge at the inauguration of the four governing boards at separate events in Accra yesterday, said Ghana needed critical skills for transformation, hence the need for the boards to be flexible in their approach to teaching and learning.
“Don’t find yourself bound by rules in such a way that you cannot restructure the curriculum so long as the end result will inure to the benefit of this country.
“Not low standards, but if the student is determined to pursue a particular career programme, let us provide him or her with the opportunity,” he said.
The boards are for the Koforidua, Kumasi, Bolgatanga and Tamale Technical universities.
The governing board of the Koforidua Technical University is chaired by Prof. Samuel Obeng Apori, while that of the Kumasi Technical University is chaired by Prof. Ben Baffoe-Bonnie.
The boards of the Tamale and the Bolgatanga Technical universities have Dr Al-hassan Emil Abdulai and Prof. Francis Atindaana Abantanga, respectively, as chairpersons.
The minister led the board members to take their oaths of office and secrecy.
Technical education, Dr Adutwum said, had become the fulcrum of the country’s transformational agenda, saying it was time for the technical universities to be uniquely placed to take a keen interest in producing graduates with employable skills and critical thinking abilities.
“Do not just be interested in teaching and learning but also what happens to the students after graduation; talk to companies to know the skills they need and design courses to meet the demand.
“I am calling for the training of engineers who are not out to repair cars built by the white man but those who will design tools that can be used to transform the fortunes of this country,” he said.
Additionally, he said, the world over, there was a high demand for engineers, hence the need for technical universities to boost the number of engineers that graduated from their universities in order to get the required number of engineers needed for the economic transformation of the country.
He further noted that a country such as Vietnam, with a population of over 90 million, was producing 100,000 engineers annually, a situation which had given that country leverage for giant firms, including Samsung’s manufacturing plant.
Ghana, with a population of approximately 30.8 million, he said, should be producing 33,000 engineers annually to meet the market demand and also attract leading global technology and engineering firms.
The minister, who is also the Member of Parliament for Bosomtwe, noted that his office was working with the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC) to offer Bachelor of Science in Engineering courses, rather than Bachelor of Technology, for students to regard the technical universities as a place of choice for those who wanted to pursue engineering.
“The government is making great investments in the educational sector because we believe it is the best way to transform the country,” he said.
He further urged the boards to frequently organise job fairs and engage SHS heads to encourage their students to enrol at the technical universities in order to have a unique selling point.
Dr Adutwum asked members of the boards to put their differences aside and use their versatile experiences to work on the same wavelength for the interest of the universities.
The chairpersons of the various boards thanked the President for the honour done them by their appointment to the boards, as it gave them the opportunity to serve the country.
They, among other things, said they would work closely with the ministry to uplift the image of their respective organisations and help achieve the government’s transformational agenda, using education as a tool.