Lifeline for polytechnic applicants

BY: Isaac Yeboah

Deputy Minister for Education, Samuel Okudzeto AblakwaA window of opportunity has been opened to 16,188 applicants who would not have gained admission to polytechnics this year because they had D7 and E8 in some subjects in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

An agreement has been reached among the Ministry of Education, the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE), the National Accreditation Board (NAB), the Conference of Rectors of Polytechnics (CORP) and the National Board for Professional and Technician Examinations (NABPTEX) to admit applicants with D7 and E8 who do not meet the minimum entry requirements.

However, the only condition is that once admitted, the applicants will have to undertake an access course for three months as they study alongside those who meet the requirements.

The decision not to accept applicants with D7  and E8 would have crippled polytechnic admissions this year.

This is because out of 19,645 applications they received, only 3,457 qualified for admission.

Last year, the 10 polytechnics were able to admit 47,294 students.

At a press conference in Accra yesterday, a Deputy Minister of Education, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, explained that the decision to accept applicants with D7 and E8 followed a petition from the polytechnics on what they described as a potential source of national crisis as a result of their inability to admit those with D7 and E8.

He said the access course to be run for the applicants who came with D7 and E8 would be run parallel with the normal academic work.

“So they will be admitted to attend lectures with their mates, while they pursue the access course. The access course will be supervised by NABPTEX, the regulatory body, and if the students pass the access course they will continue, but if they fail, the polytechnics will have no choice but withdraw them,” he said.

Mr Ablakwa said the stakeholders thought the decision to admit the D7 and E8 applicants was a humane compromise they had reached, adding that “every country has a minimum entry requirement but seeing that we have a special case, where our polytechnics were virtually going to become white elephants …. this was the realistic option available”.

He expressed the hope that the intervention would bring the matter on D7 and E8 to a closure.

To create the opportunity to admit more applicants who did not apply because of the directive from the NAB, the minister said the polytechnics had been asked to reopen the admission process, “so that many of the disappointed university applicants can make a choice with the polytechnics”.

The decision to admit the E7 and E8 applicants will continue in subsequent academic years.

By Emmanuel Bonney & Vida Essel/Daily Graphic/Ghana