Flag bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has criticised the decision of the government to convert polytechnics in the country into technical universities in phases.
Describing the approach as ‘piecemeal’, he said the proper way to go was to convert the polytechnics en bloc after ensuring that all of them had the same infrastructure and were at the same level of development.
The current situation, in which six polytechnics had been shortlisted for conversion according to the three time presidential candidate, would disadvantage and destabilise the remaining four polytechnics.
“We cannot do this policy, piecemeal. Either you are doing it for everybody, or you are not doing it at all”, he told students of the Cape Coast Polytechnic (C-Poly), attracting cheers and applause, at the weekend, when he addressed them as part his five-day tour of the Central Region.
Earlier this year, Ho, Kumasi, Takoradi, Sunyani, Accra and Koforidua polytechnics were shortlisted for the first phase of the conversion after they met a set criteria such as infrastructure and capacity required for their operation as universities beginning this September.
This did not go down well with the others, especially a coalition, made up of student groups, alumni and other stakeholders of C-poly, which issued several statements and picketed at the campus to register their dissatisfaction over the exclusion of the polytechnic in the first phase.
Government on the other hand explained that it could not convert the polytechnics en bloc since a technical committee set up to advise on the conversion has recommended that the exercise be done progressively to satisfy the requirement of technical university.
The several weeks of agitation halted following Government’s decision to re-asses the C-Poly.
But according to Nana Akufo-Addo, though certain criteria were set by government in the selection, it went on to pick some polytechnics over others, and that leaving out the four polytechnics was an unfair approach to education in the country.
In an apparent assurance to the Cape Coast, Wa, Bolgatanga and Tamale polytechnics which were excluded in the first phase he said “When we get the opportunity, we are going to make sure we do all together as one”.
Likening the current approach to the implementation of other policies by government, Nana Akufo-Addo described it as one that lacks proper preparation and proper follow through of the idea and that on the face of it, it looked attractive but it was fraught with danger.
Nana Akufo-Addo said his government would fully develop infrastructure at the polytechnics and ensure there was a strong collaboration between the polytechnics and industry to make technical education the future of the country.
He said he would introduce policies that would encourage companies to employ fresh graduates and build the country’s industrial sector in which polytechnic students would play a vital role; all as part of efforts to reduce graduate unemployment.
He compared Ghana to Cote d’Ivoire, which until recently was engulfed in civil war but had become the number one investment destination on the African continent and urged Ghanaians to vote for him to transform Ghana.
“Let us all come together, let us put our energies together and get the change we want in this election year and under Akufo-Addo’s government we can put Ghana on the road to progress and prosperity again,” Nana Akufo-Addo said.
From Jonathan Donkor, Cape Coast