Ghana: New Polytechnic Law Must Be Applied Carefully

Ho — The Chairman of the Ho Polytechnic Council, Prof. Frank Obed Kwami, has stressed the need for careful study and implementation of the new Polytechnic Law, Polytechnic Act 2007, Act 745, which has been enacted to replace Polytechnic Law 1992, PNDC Law 321.

He said section 3 (2) of the new law grants academic autonomy to Polytechnics, thereby making it possible for a Polytechnic, through its academic Board and Council to organize its own academic programmes.

Prof. Kwami, who was speaking at the 8th congregation of the Ho Polytechnic, to award Higher National Diploma (HND) and Diploma to 470 granduants who passed through the institute in 2006, expressed regret that already the Law was being interpreted in several ways, some of which were not in consonant with the existing aims and objectives of Polytechnic education in the country.

The Ho Polytechnic Chairman noted that what was missing in the educational system of the country was the relevant structures for the training of vocational and technical education, as well as the formation of an effective and sustainable human capital for the socio economic development of the country.

Prof. Kwami said human capital should be formed by investing in relevant knowledge and skills in the workforce and pointed out that government was aware of the structural deficiency and was making efforts to address the problem, which led to the formation of the National Council for Technical Education and Training (COTVET).

He stressed the need for government to re-examine the poor salaries and conditions of service for Polytechnic lecturers, which should be addressed quickly because with the proliferation of Private tertiary institutions, the demand for lecturers and supporting staff have become keen and competitive.

In a speech read for him by the Volta Regional Minister, Mr. Samuel Kofi Dzamesi , the Minister of Education, Science and Sports, Prof. Dominic Fobih, said government recognized the vital role Polytechnic education plays in national development, hence efforts are being made to improve on facilities at all the polytechnics.

He emphasized that Polytechnic education was to provide the manpower needs of the country in order to propel the nation into a middle income status by the year 2015. He further said that the new education policy prominently highlights technical, vocational and ICT which is relevant in nation building.

The Education Minister said, competence-based concept of education was important to government since graduates of such training were of high demand on the job market because they were capable of establishing their own businesses and would be in good positions to employ others in order to reduce unemployment.

He also appealed to industry to support competence based education and training by offering practical training opportunities to students and teaching materials to the various technical institutions, as well as ensure that products from Polytechnics would be the right calibre to move the country forward.

The Rector of the Ho Polytechnic, Dr. K. A. Dzisi, said out of the total number of students who graduated , four students or one percent obtained first class , 246 0r 52 percent had second class Upper Division , 46 obtained second class lower Division and five students had a pass.

Dr. Dzisi said in order to attract more students to pursue science related subjects, the Ho Polytechnic has started what he called a 'bridging programme' in Science, English and Mathematics for Technical and Vocational School graduates, to provide them access to HND programmes. It is being run in conjunction with National Board for Professional and Technical Examinations (NABPTEX).

The Rector used the opportunity to advise the granduants to work hard in the competitive work environment in order to distinguish themselves at the work place, which would make them different from other personnel and uplift the image of the Polytechnic.

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