Dr Stephen Turkson, an Educational Consultant, has advised the government to speed up efforts to revamp the various Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) institutions to make them more relevant in the 21st Century.
He said re-tooling, infrastructure upgrading and funding to these institutions for comprehensive TVET, would help attract the youth.
This, he said, would further dismiss the misconception that these institutes were meant for the academically weak, who needed to be trained merely as brick layers, welders, mechanics, bakers, tailors and seamstresses among others.
Dr Turkson underscored the important role of TVET in the era of massive global industralisation, saying, industries were seeking for high quality human resources with skills driven by technology and innovation, to meet the increasing demands of people, and also to address the numerous challenges facing societies in general.
Dr Turkson gave the advice at a two-day workshop organized by the Vocational Training for Females’(VTF) Programme, a Christian-Based Non-governmental Organisation (NGO) at Aburi in the Eastern Region.
It was to build the capacities of media practitioners, particularly Editors, for effective advocacy and awareness creation on TVET and its importance to the achievement of Ghana’s sustainable development agenda.
He cited countries such as China, Japan, Germany, Australia, Canada, Korea and the United States of America among other highly industrialised nations, who caught the vision early and heightened their investment in TVET, leading to their present development statuses.
He said as much as the government’s efforts to streamline Ghana’s Educational sector including TVET with reformed policies and strategies were appreciated, there was the need to speed up interventions to ensure that “no one is left behind”, and to deal swiftly with the present technology gap, contributing to widespread poverty among low income communities.
Dr Turkson said the government’s “One District One Factory” for instance would need TVET Higher National Diploma (HND) holders and graduate degree holders in technology to run these factories, and insisted that the Free Senior High School Policy must be extended to cover students in the sector too, hence the need to take a critical look at these issues.
He cautioned the government against turning the newly created Technical Universities (previously Polytechnics), into the teaching of humanities and social sciences as we have in the traditional tertiary academic institutions.
The former Polytechnics, he said, were well-known for equipping students with technical and vocational skills to enable them to provide the needed manpower for industries, and further sharpen the entrepreneurial abilities of graduates to create jobs and not to be job seekers.
Dr Turkson indicated that the poor resource allocation to TVET, if not reversed, would end up churning out for instance, graduates with degrees who would become ‘arm-chair’ engineers, leaving a gap for middle-level technicians.
Professor Ransford Gyampo, the Chairperson of the VTF-TVET advocacy team, urged the media to intensify education by engaging experts and policy makers on the repositioning of TVET institutions and accord the sector the needed recognition as a key player in industrial and technological advancement.
He said the advocacy team is committed to partnering with the media, to educate the public, create awareness and debate issues regarding policy, using the various communication platforms to effect the needed changes for the success of Ghana’s transformation agenda.
Ms Linda Agyei, the Director of the Vocational Training for Females’ Programme, said the TVET sector had seen a number of global reforms and policies to restructure for delivery on its mandate as the master key for sustainable development, and Ghana has been compelled by these global trends to pay attention to the system, which had hitherto been relegated to the background over the decades.
She said the VTF was leading the campaign for greater awareness and improvement of TVET, and invited the media to join the advocacy wagon, to ensure that the challenges that were depriving the country from deriving maximum benefits from the sector were sustainably addressed.