Accra, July 13, GNA - Professor Kwesi Yankah, the Minister of State in-charge of Tertiary Education, has noted that emphasis on Technical Universities and skills development will transform Africa’s economy drastically to create job opportunities.
Professor Yankah said government was committed to expand technical and vocational institutions, at both the secondary and tertiary levels to strengthen the linkages between education and industry for sustained national development.
Prof Yankah said this at the opening ceremony of a conference for funding programme, “North Rhine Westphalia (NRW) Partnerships for Supporting Technical Universities in Ghana.”
The funding programme is aimed at ensuring that the Technical Universities in the country are practice-related, while at the same time facilitating ongoing cooperation with the NRW Universities of Applied Sciences.
The conference, brought together representatives from Technical Universities in the country and Africa, organised by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), a German support organisation of international academic co-operation, in collaboration with the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE).
Prof Yankah stated that, lessons learnt in African’s educational system, was the low capacity and skills development resulting in the inability to generate knowledge and enable the development of technical education among the youth and workforce.
He said in 2016, the government sought the support of the German government for the German Universities of Applied Sciences to partner and help build the capacities of Ghanaian technical universities.
He said the Kumasi Technical University, Cape Coast Technical University and three German universities of applied sciences namely, TH Koln University of Applied Sciences, Hochschule-Bonn-Rhein Seig University and the Internationale Hochschule Bad Honnef -Bonn signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the Partnership for Applied Sciences project.
The two Ghanaian institutions would develop proposals with technical assistance from the Hochschule-Bonn-Rhein Seig University, to promote the country’s development drive.
Prof Yankah said the government would work to put in place a free technical and vocational education system that would run parallel to the high school to improve the human capital, promote innovation and create new job opportunities.
He said the government was working assiduously to raise the value of technical and vocational education and produce talented young men and women to hasten the nation’s industrial and technological development.
Prof Eric Nyarko-Sampson, Member of Council, National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) speaking on the topic, “Current Trends and Developments for Technical Universities in Ghana”, said the process of conversion of Polytechnics to Technical Universities began in 2013.
He said the Technical Universities Act, 2016 (Act 922) was passed by Parliament and given Presidential assent on August 31, 2016.
According to Prof Nyarko-Sampson, the Act would afford students the opportunity to acquire high level technical skills to drive the country’s socio-economic development agenda and contribute to raising quality and competiveness of Ghanaian workforce among others.
He said government had inaugurated eight polytechnics designated as Technical Universities in 2016, with the programmes designed to prepare students professionally, with prior work experience.
“Government was taking steps to address the shortcomings of Wa and Bolgatanga Polytechnics to enable them get converted to Technical Universities”, he added.
He said the Ministry of Education through the NCTE was working to ensure adequate funding allocations, which had been one of the challenges faced by Technical Universities.
He said the Council was vigorously considering new programmes submitted by the Technical Universities for approval.
She said the conference was to analyse the potential for fostering stronger University-business linkages and graduate employability in the country and develop further steps towards strengthening the technical Universities.
Mr Christoph Retzlaff, the Ambassador of Federal Republic of German to Ghana said the conference justified the bilateral relationship between Ghana and German.
He said the German government would continue the partnership between the two countries especially in technical education, adding that, ‘Ghana beyond Aid’ could be achieved with strong technical and vocational institutions.