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General News of Sunday, 20 May 2007

Source: GNA

Kufuor urges Polytechnics to redesign their missions

Takoradi May 20, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufour on Saturday asked authorities of Polytechnics to revitalize their missions in the country's quest to attain middle-income status by 2015. He said "It is the Polytechnics alone who are positioned in the short-run to deliver the broad masses of employees that are most attractive to local and foreign investors who are determined to invest in Ghana".

President Kufuor made the call in a speech read on his behalf by Papa Owusu Ankomah, Member of Parliament for Sekondi and Minister of Education, Science and Sports at the sixth congregation of Takoradi Polytechnic at Takoradi.

He said for Ghana's economy to grow to the desired heights, Polytechnics had to gear themselves up to meet the challenges in attracting the appropriate investment.

President Kufour urged authorities of Polytechnics to introduce renovations that would assist the country to achieve national renewal and transformation, adding "The future of Polytechnics depended on their ability to respond to these vital challenges or they run the risk of being marginalized because of local and global competition in the manpower market."

He said authorities of Polytechnics should therefore; re-design their strategic missions in such a way that it would power their revitalization for the country.

President Kufuor announced that Government allocated 13.8 bilion cedis for developmental projects at Takoradi Polytechnic during the 2007 financial year, and currently, Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFUND) was funding the construction of a hostel to accommodate 400 students on the campus of School of Business Studies at Butumagyebu and the project was expected to be completed by August.

He said projects being undertaken under a special facility for Polytechnics under the Teaching and Learning Innovation Fund (TALIF) included V-SAT Internet backbone connectivity, the supply and installation of Power Tools and Woodworking machines for the Furniture Design and Production Departments.

Professor Daniel Mireku-Gyimah, Chairman of Takoradi Polytechnic Council, said as a policy, the council had asked the authorities to encourage the academic staff that did not have the requisite qualifications to upgrade themselves to obtain a Doctorate and Master of Science degrees.

He said this was a sure way of strengthening the staff of the polytechnic and they had taken up the challenge.

Professor Mireku-Gyimah said the council had in addition, directed the authorities to deal drastically with any student or staff who would indulge in examination malpractice because proper conduct of examinations was the only way to ensure credibility to academic programmes run by the polytechnic.

He said the council was committed to ensuring that all projects in the polytechnic were executed properly and at approved cost, "Because the council would not accept any shoddy work or tolerate undue delay of projects."

Professor Mireku-Gyimah warned that the council would not hesitate to terminate any contract that was of poor quality or unduly delayed.

Dr Samuel Obeng Apori, Principal of Takoradi Polytechnic said 950 students who received their Higher National Diploma completed their studies in September 2005.

He said they were made up of 209 women and 741 men out of which 10 obtained first class, 536 second class (Upper Division), 389 second class (Lower Division) and 14 passes. Dr Apori said the polytechnic had established a Guidance and Counselling Centre because of the increasing tendency of students to indulge in deviant and anti-social behaviour that affected their academic progress and development.

He advised parents and guardians to complement efforts of the centre by monitoring and counselling their children and wards regularly. Dr Apori noted that most of the students had lost focus and forgotten that they were admitted in the polytechnic primarily to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes to enable them make meaningful contributions to the socio-economic development of the nation.

He said students tended to be more pre-occupied with extra curricular activities and unimportant social events that affected their academic performance. Dr Apori announced that some students were dismissed for academic non-performance, examination malpractices, smoking of Indian hemp, attempted rape and fighting over girls.