Don’t turn technical universities into teaching humanities – Educationist

An educational consultant, Dr Stephen Turkson, has warned against turning the newly created technical universities (formerly Polytechnics) into the teaching of the humanities or social sciences.

He said the technical universities were offering technical subjects meant to train young Ghanaians with technical skills and knowledge to power the country’s industrial development.

Dr Turkson was speaking at the opening of a two-day capacity building workshop for media personnel on effective advocacy and awareness creation on TVET and its importance to Ghana’s technical and industrial development.

It was organised by the Vocational Training for Females’ Programme, a Christian-based non governmental organisation (NGO) leading the campaign for greater awareness and improvement of the TVET sector.

“The polytechnics were set up solely for the purposes of equipping students with technical hands-on engineering skills to enable them to provide the needed technical manpower for the industries and factories as well as making graduate entrepreneurs to create jobs and not job seekers.”

Dr Turkson  cited the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi which was specifically set up for the purpose of training the needed technical expertise for that while the polytechnics were also set up to provide the middle level personnel.

 He observed that humanities or liberal art courses were gradually gaining grounds in these technical institutions to the detriment of the technical courses.

According to him, the newly created technical universities, though good the intention, they would end up churning out graduates with degrees in the various technical fields who would become ‘arm-chair engineers, leaving a gap for middle level technicians.

Dr Turkson therefore suggested the need for government to reconsider revamping the various TVET institutions to make them more relevant in the 21st century to dispel the misconception that TVET was meant for the academically weak who needed to be trained as dress makers, brick layers, tailors, hairdressers, welders and mere mechanics or fitters and bakers among others.

He cited Japan, Germany, Austria, Canada, among others industrialised countries nations who had invested so much in  TVET education leading to their industrialisation.

Dr Turkson wondered why  senior high schools are free under the government’s  Free SHS policy to study the humanities but in the case of persons pursuing TVET education, they are  required to pay, a situation which according to him, should be looked at seriously.

He said the government’s One Village One Factory (1D1F) in particular would need TVET Higher National Diploma (HND) holders and graduates with degrees in technology to run the proposed factories therefore there was the need to take a critical look at the issues.

Professor Ransford Gyampo,  Chairperson,  VTF/ TVET   Advocacy Team, earlier   urged the media to step up the advocacy by engaging  experts, policy makers on the repositioning of TVET to enable it to achieve the  purpose for which it was established.

TVET, he noted, must be given the necessary recognition it deserves as it plays its role in the national industrial and technological development, saying the VTF see you as a major partner on board to propel the TVET agenda.

“We will work with you as the media to put the issues of TVET across and hope the partnership would yield the desired result of making it  the key to our development”, Dr Gyampoh said.

The participants who were taken through topics such as:  TVET definitions, philosophy and scope, understanding the TVET landscape globally and locally, historical perspectives, reforms and trends, restructuring the TVET sector, proposed Pre-tertiary Education and the Education Regulation Bill.


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