Polytechnic education is crucial to the success of the nation’s quest for industrialization, Mr Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, Vice President, has underscored.
He said that would depend greatly on the availability of the technical work force from the polytechnics, adding that the main purpose of education was not only to impart knowledge, but to also nurture younger generations in their intellectual, physical, moral, social and economic development.
Mr Amissah-Arthur was speaking last Saturday in a statement read on his behalf by Professor Mahama Duwiejua, Executive Secretary of the National Council for Tertiary Education, at the 12th graduation ceremony of the Accra Polytechnic.
The Vice President said the rationale of polytechnic education was to produce the critical core of middle-level manpower for the country.
He said given the nature of technological advancement in the world, polytechnics must emphasize the acquisition of hands-on practical and entrepreneurial skills to train career-focused technical workforce required to meet the needs of the labour market.
“The polytechnics are application-oriented institutions that must focus on the transmission and exploration of knowledge through practical teaching, creation of knowledge through applied research and application of scientific theories for the advancement of society,” Mr Amissah-Arthur stated.
He said polytechnics equipped students with practical problem solving skills and that their products were well-equipped with hands-on skills and practical work experience.
He noted that this year, tertiary institutions were confronted with having to double their admissions, because of the three streams of Senior High School (SHS) leavers (four-year SHS, three year SHS and the November/December candidates) competing for limited vacancies.
The Vice President said in order to address the challenges that would come with the admissions into the next academic year, the government had allocated funds for the completion of ongoing projects in public tertiary institutions.
He said it was the determination of government to see to it that the polytechnics succeeded in their resolve to provide opportunities for skills development and applied research, declaring that the dramatic changes propelling globalization had all been achieved largely as a result of phenomenal developments in skilled human resource in the areas of science and technology.
He said to strengthen the policy orientation of government that placed greater emphasis on science, vocational, technical and training, more funding was expected to be directed at equipping the engineering and science departments of polytechnics.
Mr Amissah-Arthur said the government would eradicate the current bottlenecks that impede polytechnics from mounting their own degree programmes and facilitate the process where polytechnics would run their own top-up degree programmes.
He charged the graduating students to let their training reflect in their performance on jobs.
Prof Joshua Alabi, Chairman of the Polytechnic Council and Rector of the University of Professional Studies, said the Council would continue to ensure that all the statutory structures within the Polytechnic functioned appropriately in order to guarantee fairness and firmness in dealing with staff and students matters.
Prof Sylvester Achio, Rector of the Polytechnic, said the coming years could be decisive for the institution if they were able to implement the reforms envisaged in their strategic plan.
“It would put us at the apex of tertiary institutions in Ghana. We want to retain the high content for which we are regarded and instill into our graduates the drive towards the truth, excellence and service,” he said.
The graduation ceremony was graced by past Rectors of the Polytechnic, Rectors and Chairmen of Governing Councils of other Polytechnics in the country.
Madam Safoa Rachel Ankoma was adjudged the best female graduate, while Mr Michael Ahiafokpor emerged the overall best student.