Ghanaian tertiary institutions deviating-Panel

Tertiary institutions in the country are deviating from their core mandates and are rather competing amongst themselves, the Ghanaian Panel on Economic Development (GPED) report has disclosed.

As a result of this, there is duplication of efforts and “resources are wasted in training students in areas that are not relevant to the economic development of Ghana and for that matter the Ghanaian job market.”

It said the vision of Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first President for establishing the three public universities ; University of Ghana(UG) , University of Cape Coast (UCC) and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), was not what was prevailing currently.

The GPED was jointly initiated by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the UG in 2011 to start a dialogue on the structural transformation of the Ghanaian economy.

Made up of personalities from academia, policy think tanks, government, politics, and entrepreneurs, among others, it was to come up with strategies which promote economic development and growth but are at the same time socially inclusive and pro-poor.

Between 2011 and 2014, various topics including, agriculture, economy, oil and gas, social protection, structural transformation, education, long term development planning, decentralisation and infrastructural development were discussed and recommendations made for policy makers and other stakeholders.

The 209-page report, which is a collection of six of the papers that were presented at the panel discussions, was launched in Accra on Friday by Prof. Felix Ankomah Asante, Director, ISSER and Fritz Kopsieker , Resident Director of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung .

Citing an example of the deviation and competition, the report said KNUST, was established with the mandate to train 90 per cent of the country’s human resource in science and technology based disciplines but it was currently competing with UG in training law and arts based programmes.

It said academic programmes were not designed to fit into national development plans as envisioned by Dr Nkrumah’s vision but rather to attract students who are willing to pay fees for degrees, diplomas and certificates.

This, it said was irrespective of the good chances the acquired qualifications would offer them adding, “that most of these students graduate and seek to work in the business environment but lack the necessary training.”

The main reason for this, it said was the semi-autonomous status that tertiary institutions had assumed as they were made to finance their own recurrent and capital expenditures in some cases.

“Thus, they offer demand-driven programmes that enable them to attract the maximum number of students to enable them realise the required revenue to finance their day- to-day operations.” it said.

Touching on other challenges in tertiary education sector, it indicated the need for stakeholders to ensure that education at that level contributed to the economic development of the country.

By Jonathan Donkor

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