There is the need for flexibility and initiatives to develop new programmes in the tertiary institutions to reflect the emerging needs of industries and the nation, Mr. Rockson Dogbegah, Founder and Board Chairman of Berock Ventures Limited has said.
In a speech read on his behalf at the opening of the Commonwealth Association of Polytechnics in Kumasi he said, “This step may begin when enterprises provide research topics for graduation projects of students.”
Alternatively, he said enterprise experts and lecturers from educational and training institutions may jointly research practical solutions for productivity and quality improvement.
“At an advanced stage, they may conduct collaborative research on cutting-edge devices or materials. At this stage, educational and training institutions should have high-level theoretical knowledge, sophisticated research laboratories, and systems to protect intellectual property rights,” Mr. Dogbegah suggested.
Mr. Dogbegah said the skills gap prevailing in the country’s industries often results from the lack of a stronger collaboration between educational institutions and industry in the development of academic and training programmes.
Going forward, he suggested that the processes involved in developing curriculum should include inputs from key stakeholders such as employers and industrialists among others.
“Group of enterprises belonging to a particular industrial sector and geographically concentrated in an area could form industry clusters and could benefit from being served by tailored courses that are available in the area,” Mr. Dogbegah said.
“For example, the cluster of auto-mechanics, electrical technicians and wielders in the spare parts hub of Suame-Magazine, Kumasi in Ghana could be brought together under such an umbrella to collaborate with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi-Ghana, to provide the necessary training and skills enhancement just as was done in Pakistan, the Sialkot surgical instruments cluster which was developed with the help of local institutions such as the Apprenticeship Training Institute of Sialkot and the Metal Industries Development Centre,” he suggested.
This collaboration he suggested must be led by government using the education and labour ministries to deepen the economic and socio-cultural growth of our institutions, the particular industries involved and the country at large.
Mr. Dogbegah said a major difference between training institutions in Africa and most so-called developed economies such as the United Kingdom and the United States was the emphasis placed on the provision of career services to students.
Often, he said there was a well-functioning career services department in most of the academic institutions in these countries that focus on partnerships with industry for mutual benefits.
By Times Reporter