The Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, has called on the governing councils of public universities to help students develop critical thinking abilities to enhance the country’s socio-economic development.
He said the councils must show interest in the academic development of their students just as they pay attention to the finances of their respective institutions.
“To get the critical manpower, management of the universities must have critical thinkers to fit into industry needs and also transform the country’s developmental agenda,” he said.
Dr Adutwum made the call when he inaugurated the governing council of the Akenten Appiah-Menka University of Skills Training and Entrepreneurial Development (AAMUSTED) and six other public universities in Accra on Friday.
The other universities were the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, C.K. Tedam University of Technology and Applied Sciences, S.D. Dombo University, University of Mines and Technology, University of Health and Allied Sciences, and the University for Development Studies.
The Minister charged the members not to focus too much on the financial growth of their respective universities but the development of quality education in the schools as well.
He explained that, although it was prudent to improve the financial position of the institutions they represented, there was also the need for them to take a keen interest in the courses pursued and their relevance to the 21st-century job market needs.
Dr Adutwum asked them to have a second and a critical look at courses in their institutions and their relevance to the current market needs and what industry players wanted.
The Minister admonished the universities to collaborate with companies for students to have hands-on experience on the job to bridge the academia and industry gap.
In addition, he charged on the universities to focus on technology and engineering to demonstrate excellence and give opportunity to students to be innovative and solve problems for national growth.
“I will not blame management of universities whose fresh students cannot read and write, but will be surprised if the situation persists after graduation,” he said.
Dr Adutwum urged the councils to be globally competitive in the pursuit of higher education and assured them of government’s commitment to involving the universities’ leadership in the development of new high school curriculum to improve teaching and learning.
He charged them to be interested in the general education of students and develop innovative ways to enhance teaching in the universities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic for improved outcomes.
The Education Minister stated that looking at the critical role played by tertiary institutions in the socio-economic transformation of the country, there was the need for the governing board members to redouble their effort at getting the best for their institutions and the nation as a whole.
Dr Adutwum assured the gathering that the government was poised and focused on the operations of all tertiary institutions in the country since that was the vessel for the nation’s socio-economic transformation.
“You have the opportunity to correct any deficiency that you came and met as a group and turn it around for the good of your institutions in addition to the general education requirement. Take a keen interest in curriculum and instruction side of the courses in your institution,” he added.
“Now that Ghana is the headquarters of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), there is the need for all institutions in the country to take advantage of it and create programmes and courses to match the needs and aspirations of the Continent to get opportunities for job creation and products for the market.
The councils have the following as the chairpersons, Mr Paul Kwasi Agyemang, AAMUSTED; Mr Kwaku Yamoah Painstil, Simon Diedong (S D) DOMBO University of Business and Integrated Development Studies; Professor Gordon Akanzuwine Awandare, C K TEDAM of Technology and Applied Sciences.
The rest are, Prof. Wayo Seini, University for Development Studies (UDS); Mr Piesie Kofi Asante, Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA); Dr Stephen Saforo Yirenkyi, University of Mines and Technology (UMAT) and Justice Victor Mawulom Jones Dotse, University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS).
BY CLIFF EKUFUL