Professor Jophus Anamuah-Mensah, a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba, has called for reforms and re-engineering of Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) as a means of curbing unemployment in the country.
He said economic viability and competitiveness depended on quality work force and placement of skills development on the country’s development agenda.
He stressed the need for a balance between academic work and vocational development to propel the country’s growth.
Prof. Anamuah-Mensah was speaking at the Comfort Ntiamoah-Mensah Memorial Forum on Vocational Training for Females (VTF) at Osu in Accra.
The forum, which was held on the theme, “Building a solid foundation for TVET in Ghana – a Situational Analysis,” was used to launch the Comfort Ntiamoah-Mensah Foundation.
The VTF programme was established by the Presbyterian Church of Ghana and its partner, the Bread for the World/ Protestant Development Service, Germany, to respond to the church’s socio-economic objectives of transforming lives of the people.
Prof. Anamuah-Mensah said although TVET played a very important role in the development agenda, little attention was paid to it.
He described the unemployment rates in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Benin as worrying, adding that Ghana’s 5.3 per cent unemployment rate was one of the highest in the sub-region.
“In the case of Benin the unemployment rate is 1.1 per cent and Sierra Leone is 2.3 per cent. What is wrong with Ghana?” he quizzed.
He said the country had 45 technical institutions with over 860 secondary schools, yet little attention was paid to technical education and training, and therefore urged the government to commit more resources and logistics to its development.
Mr. Seth O. Asamoah, Head of Assessment and Certification at the Council of Technical Vocation Education Training, said developed economies rode on the back of TVET and that Korea, which was branded as one of the poorest nations, now stood as the sixth richest nation as a result of TVET while Malaysia made over 2,500 products out of palm nut.
Mr. Asamoah said one of the challenges facing TVET was the negative perception some people had about it as an avenue for school drop-outs, saying the perception needed to change among Ghanaians.
“It is sad that there is no TVET institution in Ghana that can boast of state-of-the-art equipment.
“TVET in the past received 0.5 per cent budget from the Ministry of Education but that has now been raised to one per cent,” he said.
He called for a unified TVET qualification framework to ensure harmony and sanity on the job market.
Mrs. Leticia Osafo-Addo, chairperson of VTF Board, said TVET was considered as next to nothing, however, it formed the backbone and spring board of the country’s socio-economic development and called for resources to revamp it.