Government To Empower Polytechnics

opoku agyemangProfessor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, Minister for Education, has said the government is determined to empower Polytechnics through equitable infrastructural development and the provision of desired equipment.

She said the relevance of polytechnic education in the country laid in the avenue it creates for accelerated development.
The Minister said Government viewed polytechnic education as crucial in providing essential skills and competencies required in the country’s industrial economy.

Prof. Opoku-Agyemang made these remarks at the third congregation of the Bolgatanga Polytechnic at the weekend when 689 individuals were conferred with Higher Nation Diplomas (HND) after three years of academic work and industrial attachment.
The Minister said Government was unwavering in its commitment to investing in Polytechnic education as they were mandated to produce career-focused graduates with practical experience to meet the human resource needs of the country as well as produce employers.

Government, she said was aware of the numerous infrastructure and logistics challenges confronting polytechnics, and was determined to partner with all stakeholders to address these challenges to enable Polytechnics actualise their mandate of providing skills and competencies needed by commerce and industry.

Prof. Opoku-Agyemang indicated that as part of the new orientation in education, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) was to be repositioned to enable it play its proper role in national development, so as to give meaning to the provisions of the Polytechnic Act, 745.

She said: “the TVET is to assist polytechnics to blaze a new trail in tertiary education where there will be healthy blend of practical competency acquisition and theory, thereby producing graduates who will be practically-oriented without sacrificing academic excellence.”
She called on the media to partner effectively with Government in the re-branding of technical vocational training.

Prof. Opoku-Agyemang stated that Government would continue to strengthen the capacity of the human resource base of Polytechnics.
She called on Polytechnics to take advantage of funding opportunities, including the Skills Development Fund offered by the Council for Technical and Vocation Education and Training (COTVET) to address their skills, technology and competency gabs.

Prof. Opoku – Agyemang said modalities were being worked out by Government and the NCTE to upgrade polytechnics to technical universities to expand access to tertiary education and reduce unemployment as graduates would be equipped with practical skills and competencies to create jobs.

Dr Mba Atinga, Rector of the Bolgatanga Polytechnic, in an address said from a student population of 140 in 2003 with a department, the polytechnic has a present enrollment of 1,556 in the 2012/2013 academic year with 11 departments, reflecting the disturbing national trend in female-male enrollment ratio and science humanity ration.

The Polytechnic, which operates on two campuses, currently runs 11 programmes in the School of Applied Science and Arts, Business and Management Studies and Engineering.

He said a committee had been constituted to come up with proposals for the commencement of new programmes including HND Automobile Engineering and Management and Medical Laboratory Technology in the 2013/2014 academic year.
He said the Polytechnic in its bid to build the capacity of its staff through awards, scholarships and research grants, eight teaching staff were currently on scholarship perusing programmes with five others pursuing second degree in various sandwich programmes.GNA

Dr Atinga said as part of his outfit’s commitment to finding solutions to environmental challenges in the community, the Polytechnic had submitted a proposal to the Skills Development Fund of COTVET to train farmers and build upon their indigenous knowledge of reducing post-harvest loses in tomato farming.

He disclosed that the Polytechnic had received GH458,380.00 from the Skills Development of COTVET to develop a competency based curriculum in the provision of skills training for 300 farmers in the handling of tomatoes in readiness for gamma irradiation and processing.

Dr Atinga called on Government through the GETFund to provide the institution with suitable multi-purpose auditorium as the constraint of such a facility was hindering the polytechnic’s efforts in hosting events.  -
GNA

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