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Regional News of Monday, 18 April 2016


University not meant to produce skilled graduates – Addae-Mensah

The university is not meant to produce skilled graduates but rather, train their minds to enable them adapt to situations and circumstances, some former vice chancellors have argued.

The academics say the primary role of Universities is to train the brain and not to provide ready-hands for industry.

A former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana Professor Ivan Addae-Mensah, for instance, maintains the country’s universities are doing a good job at training the minds of students.

Criticisms over the quality of graduates being churned out from the country's universities has heightened over the last few years.

President John Mahama recently charged managers of the country’s education to restructure the curricular to make graduates fit-for-purpose. The Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II over the weekend admonished heads of Universities to equip graduates with skills.

But speaking to Starr News’ Ibrahim Alhassan Prof. Addae-Mensah argued current graduates are as good as those in yesteryears.

“I have always maintained that Universities are not glorified vocational institutions. Society changes all the time so what you have to do is to train a university student to be able to think and be able to adopt and adapt to situations as they arise.

"For as long as we are producing students who can think, think for themselves and be innovative, we are not doing badly...but the people who make these criticisms, they are the same people who are also heading institutions who have passed through these institutions (universities). Sooner or later, those they are criticizing now will also be heading those institutions.”

The Professor emeritus of Chemistry rather believes society has failed in challenging the youth of today to give off their best.

“The environment also has to be right for them to be able to show their real potential. One thing we don’t do in this country is that we don’t challenge our youth. We don’t give them the chance to prove what they can do and yet we turn around to criticize them. I think we should give our youth the chance and challenge them to do things that will show their real worth and real potential”.

Supporting the position, another former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana also shared similar views. Prof. Akilagpa Sawyerr also argued Universities are not meant to provide industry with ready-hands. The President of the Ghana Academy of Science told Ibrahim criticisms against various universities and the quality of their products are misinformed.

“I think what is often forgotten is that the role of the University is not to train for industry, not to teach for jobs. That’s not our function. Our function is to train the mind and develop the skills to enable people take up different things. And I think often the criticisms of the universities are based upon none understanding of this difference that the university will go only as far as train the mind.”