The Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Sunyani Technical University (STU), Dr. Justice Solomon Korantwi-Barimah says in spite of the fact that Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is the main driving force of Ghana’s socio-economic advancement, not much has been done to promote and develop TVET over the years.
“It is a known fact that Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is one of the most vulnerable sectors in today’s educational system in Ghana. It is worrying to see how people who should have known better play down on technical and vocational education”, he said.
“For sixty (60) years of nationhood building, apart from Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana who took concrete steps to establish many technical institutions, successive governments have not shown much commitment in this regard. Whilst Senior high Schools are on the increase, Technical and Vocational Institutions remain the same”, Dr. Korantwi-Barimah was addressing the 40th anniversary and the Second Speech and Prize-Giving day of the Ahafoman Senior High/Technical School at Goaso in the Brong Ahafo Region.
The theme for the occasion was “Revamping Technical and Vocational Education and Training in the 21st Century, the role of stakeholders”.
The Pro Vice-Chancellor of STU wondered why almost every district has a Senior High School but same cannot be said about Technical and Vocational Training Institutes.
“Locally, there is at least one Senior high School in each of the Districts of the Brong Ahafo Region but that cannot be said of TVET institutions”, he stressed.
Dr. Korantwi-Barimah further noted that “another worrying issue is the evidence from parents, policymakers and in some cases trainees themselves which suggests that technical and vocational education has a poor rate of returns because of lack of formal employment prospects.”
“I must say that ‘Technically’ we have lost everything that essentially made us unique in the past. In the words of a priest, ‘we tend to major in minor and minor in major things’. In short, we have dislodged our sense of priority and focus as regards Technical and Vocational Education and Training.”
“Technical graduates in Ghana are frustrated by employers placing them wrongly with inappropriate salary and job levels. Some employers discriminate against technical and vocational graduates, whiles some educational institutions do not accept qualifications of graduates from technical and vocational institutions.”
The Pro Vice-Chancellor called on the government to make a major shift in its education policy in favour of technical and vocational education and training, in order to build the nation’s stock of human capital and give employable skills to the youth of this country.
He said the government should “make it a deliberate policy to come up with workable strategies and sustainable financing structure to deal with all the bottlenecks in TVET education.”
“As a result of the misconception among Ghanaians about TVET education, there is the need to rebrand it for people to understand its importance to national development. It is now an open secret that there are fewer white color job opportunities because our universities are producing unskilled labour that is not needed by the job market. However, there are demands for skilled workforce in many of our industries. For instance, in the emerging oil and gas industry alone, there are so many specialized jobs which are filled by expatriates workers because the Ghanaian expertise is non-existent.”
“Again, Technical and Vocational Institutions should review and upgrade their programmes to bring them in line with modern trends and practices in the industry. The ultimate aim is to make technical and vocational education demand-driven and relevant to the needs of industries.”
“Additionally, the institutions should make provision for in-service training courses for teachers to build their capacity to enhance their competencies and skills to enable them to deliver quality practical training.”
Dr. Korantwi-Barimah also called on players in the industry to improve upon the linkage that exists between technical and vocational institutions and industries in order to bring training more in line with the requirements of industry and commerce.