Mafi-Kumase — President Akufo-Addo has directed the Minister for Education to, as a matter of importance, identify the critical needs of all senior high technical schools (SHTSs) and technical and vocational institutes to get them well-equipped.
That way, the schools can promote skills training in the students to address the developmental challenges facing the country and create employment among the youth through entrepreneurship.
President Akufo-Addo said: "In the world over, the rapidly developed nations are those that prioritised technical and vocational education. Ghana should not be left behind the vocational, technical and technological education of the citizenry."
The President said these at the 33rd and 2nd Speech and Prize-Giving Day of Mafi-Kumase SHTS in Central Tongu in the Volta Region, where he was the Special Guest of Honour.
To ensure quality technical and vocational education in the country, the President explained that there was the need to provide the needed facilities, including laboratories and workshops, equipment and infrastructure that would promote the effective and practical teaching and learning of the skill. It is the practical skills training that would, eventually, help create jobs for the youth, after their second-cycle education.
President Akufo-Addo described it as regrettable that after 60 years of independence, Ghana cannot boast of quality technical and vocational education, which, he noted, is key to the socio-economic development of the country.
In view of this, he assured students in SHTSs and technical and vocational schools that government would make conscious effort to promote technical and vocational education, by fully equipping them to meet any task in skills training and acquisition.
"When the needed and relevant facilities and materials are provided to the technical and vocational training institutions, they will become more attractive to more students after their basic school education.
"And it is the needed attraction that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government will give to promote technical and vocational education for the country, because we can no longer afford to underrate technical education."
He lauded teachers in the SHTSs and technical and vocational institutions for doing their best to produce graduates with skills, in spite of the severe lack of relevant materials and facilities for practical teaching.
He furthermore lauded the Japanese Government which has started a science laboratory project for the Mafi-Kumase SHTS. President Akufo-Addo promised Mafi-Kumase SHTS a new school bus to facilitate school activities, after which he donated GH¢10,000 to the school to support its development activities.
The chairman of the Board of Governors of the Mafi-Kumase SHTS, Mr. Alex Gabby Hotorwodze, enumerated some of the school's challenges as lack of adequate infrastructure, shortage of staff as a result of the alleged refusal by the Ghana Education Service (GES) to post teachers to the school and the inadequate teaching and learning materials.
The Board Chairman, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Central Tongu, disclosed that the school has no accommodation for teachers, explaining that the teachers live in rented houses distances away from the school.
Lack of proximity, he observed, does not only affect teaching and learning in the school but also leads to poor supervision of students in the boarding house.
The head master of the school, Mr. Courage Meteku, said discipline had been a hallmark of the school following the formation of a cadet corps, which enabled the school score one hundred percent at the final West Africa Senior High School Certificate Exterminations (WASHSCE).
Mr. Meteku paid tribute to former President John Agyekum Kufuor's government for the girls' dormitory and modern classroom blocks in the school.
However, he entreated the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) to speed up work on the dining hall complex, 12-unit one-storey classroom block and boys' dormitory projects it had started.
Adding his voice, Makrado of the Mafi Traditional Area, Togbe Brentua Asafo IV, appealed to President Akufo-Addo to use his office to ensure the early completion of all ongoing projects in the school. Lastly, he appealed to the government to build an administration block and staff accommodation for the teachers to enhance academic work.