Professor Kwesi Yankah, the Minister of State in-charge of Tertiary Education, has urged technical universities to chart a new path of research and innovation distinct from other universities.
He said the inability of the African educational system to generate knowledge and enable the development of skills among the youth and the workforce has contributed to the low skills development capacity and unemployment on the continent.
Speaking at the investiture of Professor Nana Osei-Wusu Achaw as the first vice- chancellor of the Kumasi Technical University (KsTU), Prof Yankah said there is no need for technical universities to compete for academic laurels in liberal arts.
“As technical universities, there is absolutely no need to be desperately seeking academic laurels and projecting paths that are normally associated with traditional liberal arts universities,” he noted.
Professor Yankah explained that skills development in vocational and technical training is what will transform Ghana and the sub-region’s economies and drastically reduce unemployment.
He said the strategy of the Government is to expand technical and vocational opportunities at both secondary and tertiary levels to strengthen the linkages between education and industry.
The Minister said government’s agenda to transforming technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is to raise its value and turn out talented youth with the required skills to meet the needs of industry and technology “while others have the opportunity to enter into technical universities.”
Demands from Free SHS
He said this year will have a high number of graduates from the senior high schools (SHSs) due to the Free SHS policy, with an extra 50,000 students who will be knocking on the doors of tertiary institutions.
Prof Yankah said the excess number should provide opportunities for the nation to realign its wavering commitment to the vision of 60:40 science-humanities enrolment ratio in universities.
He said it should also provide an opportunity to populate the technical universities with the right calibre of vocation and skills-oriented students.
He urged the technical universities to meet the needs of students by building enough faculty capacity to cope with the expected rise in numbers.
Carve a niche
Prof Yankah advised the new VC to lead the university to carve a niche for itself and develop assessment procedures, a culture of academic progression, as well as institute academic programmes and disciplines consistent with the traditions of technical universities.
Prof Osei-Wusu Achaw, for his part, pledged to work diligently to mobilise the requisite human resource to steer the affairs of the university into a world-class institution and contribute to the government’s agenda of fostering TVET education in Ghana.
He said his administration will have to redesign the curricula to incorporate elements of information technology, artificial intelligence, innovation and creativity, problem solving skills and entrepreneurship.
The VC has served in different academic capacities at the then Kumasi Polytechnic, now KsTU, for over two decades.
He is also the Ankobeahene of Kokofu in the Kokofu Traditional Area of the Ashanti Region.