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Not everybody can go to university -Okudzeto Ablakwa

BY: Arku Jasmine

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Deputy Education MinisterNot every student who wrote the 2013 West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in 2013 will get admission to the university, Deputy Minister for Education, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has said.

Speaking on Accra-based Joy FM, the Deputy Minister said a misconception had been created by the public that any other institution of higher education apart from the universities was “useless.”

Creating the understanding that government had made adequate provision for the two cohorts of Senior High School (SHS) graduates who wrote the 2013 WASSCE, Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa said the situation of having a backlog of SHS graduates failing to enter the few public universities in the country was because of the impression that it is only the universities that could offer them the type of education they sought for.

He said, “The first challenge I have is the presumption that everybody who writes the SSCE exams should go to the university. There is a fundamental problem to that. We are building a country which needs very critical human resource in various spheres as we develop. We should not create the impression that it is only the universities that offer that opportunity that if you complete senior high school and you do not go to the university you are useless. I think that that kind of mindset ought to change.”

“We have polytechnics, they are very important and very soon they will become technical universities. We need that vocational engineering training for that critical middle manpower,” he added.

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“If we speak as if it's only universities which matter then we will have the situation where perhaps only chaffs will look at colleges of education as a last resort and they will not be motivated enough to contribute to training our young ones to become quality manpower as we deserve”.

Not everybody will pass

This year, an unprecedented number of 409,000 senior high school (SHS) graduates wrote the WASSCE and will be seeking admission to the universities and other tertiary institutions across the country.

Many concerns were raised before and even after the two groups wrote the examination on the premise that the tertiary institutions were overstretched and could not admit the huge numbers.

Responding to this, Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa noted that statistics available from the West African Examinations Council gave an indication that “not everybody will pass the examination”.

“If you look at the statistics we have about 70 per cent pass rate and even that 70 per cent, it’s just the D7, E8 cut off. If we are looking at what the universities require, we are looking at between 40 to 50 per cent traditionally. So again, let’s not high the hopes of everybody who sat and wrote the SSCE that yes you can qualify into the university,” he said.

No need to panic

According to the Deputy Minister of Education, there was no need for panic as government had put in the needed measures to ensure that a large quantum of SHS graduates gained admission into the various tertiary institutions.

He stated that, government had made an allocation of GHȼ 7.6 million in the 2013 budget as well as an additional GHȼ3.2 million to the GETFund to expand infrastructure at the various tertiary institutions across the country.

Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa also explained that the ministry had had several engagements with principals and directors of colleges of education and polytechnics to double their intake for the year.

He also indicated that the universities were ready to increase their numbers from between 15 to 100 per cent.

By Jasmine Arku/Graphic.com.gh/Ghana