PRESIDENT John Mahama has charged the nation’s polytechnics which are being converted into technical universities, to stick to their core mandates after the conversion.
He said a diversion would defeat the objective of turning them into technical universities.
“We are not creating these new universities to imitate the existing public universities,” he stated and reminded the incoming universities to live up to expectation.
President Mahama gave the charge yesterday when he addressed an assembly of students of the Koforidua Polytechnic here in the Eastern Region before inaugurating a modern Engineering Block for the polytechnic.
The Koforidua Polytechnic is among the first batch of six to be converted into technical universities from the next academic year in September.
The visit to the polytechnic was part of the president’s “Accounting to the People Tour” of the Eastern Region
He noted that in general, the technical universities were to equip students with skills and knowledge for the world of work.
“Students must be trained to acquire high level employable and competence-based skills for employment.
“We are focusing on vocational and technical skills training as the basis for our economic progression,” he stated and urged the institutions to have strong links with business and industry, and support the productive sectors of the economy with technical expertise, research and development.
“We must focus on practical research activities including market-driven joint research projects,” he stressed, adding that “in the coming year, we expect our polytechnics, as technical universities, to provide evidence of training and partnership agreements with collaborative industry partners.”
The President gave the assurance that the government would continue to provide the needed support in equipping the technical universities with the appropriate workshops, laboratories and other infrastructure to make them more productive.
For instance, at the Koforidua Polytechnic, he said an GH¢8 million laboratory equipment was about to be installed to revamp the Mechanical Engineering laboratory to advance its skills training.
He commended the management of the polytechnic for the commitment to the development of the school, and lauded the various innovative projects being undertaken by the polytechnic.
President Mahama also urged the authorities to effectively utilise the facilities, as well as the new Engineering complex so as to reciprocate the efforts by the government.
The new faculty of engineering complex has, among other facilities, an engineering laboratory, five modern laboratories for automotive, mechanical, civil and electrical engineering, as well as administrative offices.
Professor Smile Afua Gavua Dzisa, Rector of the Koforidua Polytechnic, thanked the government for the immense support in the provision of infrastructure, saying “with these enhanced facilities, we intend to increase our fresh admissions by 30 per cent for the next academic year”.
She also assured that the institution was ready to make the most out of its university status by reviewing its curricula to focus more on the sciences, technical and vocational education to effectively equip its products so that they do not become unemployed graduates.
From Edmund Mingle, Koforidua