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Panelists urge for renewed collaboration between universities and hospitality industry

BY: Faith Ayorkor Mensah
Mary Oseku-Afful Head, Department of Hotel Catering and Institutional Management, Accra Technical University, addressing participants in the forum (right). Pictures: EDNA SALVO-KOTEY
Mary Oseku-Afful Head, Department of Hotel Catering and Institutional Management, Accra Technical University, addressing participants in the forum (right). Pictures: EDNA SALVO-KOTEY

Panelists at a forum held by the Department of Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management (HCIM) of the Accra Technical University (ATU) have called for a renewed and reoriented collaboration between the technical universities and the tourism and hospitality industry.

They argued that though the universities trained personnel for the industries, there was a huge gap between the industries and academia that needed to be bridged.

At a round-table discussion to commemorate the week celebration of the department, various players from both the hospitality industry and academia came together to discuss the theme: “Hospitality and Tourism Education: A way forward for nation-building.”

Gap

The Head of Department (HOD) at the HCIM, Mary Oseku- Afful, said industry players were constantly complaining that students were not trained with the requisite skills needed, while the academia, on the other hand, was limited by the syllabus and curriculum, which spelt out lesson plans for students.

Mrs Oseku- Afful mentioned that the purpose of the discussion was to identify the shortcomings and review the syllabus to accommodate those shortfalls.

“The reason we organised this was to bring the two together so that the industry will tell us exactly what they need so that the programs we design will be informed by industry, not just training them for training sake and they go to the industry and cannot be relevant,” she explained.

As part of the celebrations, the alumni of the department were around to interact with the students and to educate them on the work environment, Mrs Oseku- Afful said.

The celebrations began with a health walk by students of the department in collaboration with the National Sports Authority, followed by a blood donation exercise, then a cleanup exercise of the school campus.

The HOD further said that there will also be a cooking competition between staff and alumni of the department.

The celebrations, she said, will be crowned with a food bazaar, where alumni will display their cooking skills.

Skills

The Pro-Vice-Chancellor of ATU, Professor Amevi Acakpovi, stressed the importance of skill acquisition, stating that it was very necessary for success in life.

He also mentioned that acquiring skills helped to bring people out of poverty, enabling them to cater for themselves.