Educationist and former Rector of the Ghana Institute of Public Administration (GIMPA), Prof. Stephen Adei has re-echoed the urgent need to prioritise Technical and Vocational education in Ghana.
He says there must be something with wrong us as a country when with the acute level of shortage of resources as Ghana faces, we refuse to prioritise development needs.
Prof Adei who was Thursday shedding more light on his earlier reported demand for the withdrawal of allowances for teacher trainees and nurses to properly fund technical and vocational education in Ghana, wondered why the government should pay more people to go for nursing training when that money could be channeled to fix ‘neglected’ technical and vocational education.
He told Citi FM that it is even annoying that those who sponsored themselves to go to private nursing colleges and wrote the same examinations as those sponsored by the state are not guaranteed jobs.
He said about 75 percent of government expenditure on education go to support the study of courses like History, Marketing, Political Science and Law, when huge numbers will opt for those courses whether government sponsors them or not.
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Prof Adei maintained that in the same vein, Ghana has churned out a lot of nurses it cannot even employ but who occasionally threaten to march to the Jubilee House naked, to demand jobs.
“Last three weeks I went to Cape Coast Technical Institute and I was so shocked at how neglected and dilapidated are the machines and everything compared to Wey Gey Hey (Wesley Girls High School) which is only one kilometer away and I said there is something wrong with us. We are spending all our money to produce grammar school graduates and neglecting those who will be self-employed and those we need in our industries, and in that context I think that we should change our education policy and our funding system and put money where the priority is now and I believe that TVET should receive our priority now.”
According to Prof. Adei, the government is spending about half-a-billion cedis on teachers and nurses allowances, an amount he said will be sufficient enough to promote Technical and Vocational education. Within five years, he said the amount can provide them equipment and the required experienced teachers.
He said it will not be necessary for Technical and Vocational students to be given allowances. What the nation needs to do, is to prioritise that kind of education.
“What is necessary is this, first they should equip schools with equipment and also they should have the same opportunities to go through it, in fact they should give them the preference for them, if they want to go to the technical universities and Tech … so their progression which is almost now, when you go to the NTI (National Technical Institute), you have basically a death sentence, that is the end of you. We should make sure that they have the same progression to go up (so) that those of them who are capable to go and do the technology courses in the universities also, and they will come out as better than those who go there and then go to the university and come out, electricians who have never touched any socket.”
He maintained that promoting Technical and Vocational education places school graduates in better stead, as they emerge as entrepreneurs and self-employees.
He quipped: “Have you ever seen anybody who has gone to learn sewing, a seamstress who has gone to the government to say give me job before? Have you seen one?”
Prof Adei said self-employment opportunities are higher in Technical and Vocational education than in grammar school education, besides Technical and Vocational graduates are those in critical need if government’s policy of re-industrialising Ghana and the one district, one factory as well as efforts to attract foreign investments are to succeed.
He said the interesting thing is that if properly educated, a Technical and Vocational graduate can be even a clerk, but a clerk from a grammar school, “if you don’t get the man an office is almost useless, he is just going around selling dog chains.”