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General News of Monday, 7 April 2014

Source: GNA

Veep urges Polytechnics to be proactive

The Vice President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur has urged polytechnics to be more proactive, businesslike and aggressive in marketing their capabilities to internally generate income to supplement Government’s efforts.

He said even though the Government had pledged to provide adequate support to enable all polytechnics to be converted into technical universities, fund raising agencies set up by the government should not be seen as the panacea to all financial challenges of the polytechnics.

The Vice President was addressing the 11th Congregation of the Cape Coast Polytechnic on Saturday during which a total of 1,019 Higher National Diplomas and 10 Bachelor of Technology Degree students graduated.

Out of the number, 47 had first Class, 464 second class upper division, 491 second class lower division and 15 received passes.

“This is the time to form closer links with the private sector and engage in serious fund raising activities,” he said.

Mr. Amissah-Arthur in a speech read on his behalf said the Government believed stakeholders such as private individuals, organizations and alumni associations played major roles as development partners by providing equipment and the infrastructural needs of the polytechnics in support of government’s efforts.

He urged all stakeholders to contribute their quota to develop polytechnics, as places of learning, and called on alumni associations to expand their membership base to cover more members, as well as financing developmental projects on their various campuses.

The Vice President assured that Government would continue to distribute limited funds judiciously and appealed to the authorities to use the funds appropriately, and that, students should take good care of the infrastructure provided them, to facilitate teaching and learning.

Mr. Amissah-Arthur said the Government was convinced that, to achieve the “Better Ghana Agenda," there was the need to continue recognizing the important role polytechnic education played in skilled manpower development for rapid economic and social growth.

“That is why the government has not relented in its efforts to provide the needed support to boost polytechnic education.” He said

The Vice President pointed out that government’s awareness of the significance of polytechnic education, coupled with the many challenges it faced, constituted part of the underlying reasons for the policy to convert polytechnic institutions into technical universities.

Mr. Amissah-Arthur said in showing Government’s true commitment to the conversion, an eight member technical committee was commissioned last year to work out modalities and plans, and that, the committee’s report was being studied by Government.

He said the experiences of other countries that had undertaken the same conversion were being reviewed in order to avoid the mistakes they may have made during the conversion.

The Vice President commended the council and management of the Cape Coast Polytechnic for their efficient management of scarce government resources, especially where the provision of adequate funding was a serious challenge for government.

He advised them to work conscientiously at whatever job they get, since their true worth would be measured by their ability to impart positively, and reminded the graduating students, who had accessed the Students’ Loan Trust Fund to repay as soon as they start working to enable other students to access the revolving fund.

The Rector of Cape Coast Polytechnic, Professor Lawrence Atepor, lauded the decision to convert polytechnics in technical universities, saying, it would make university education accessible to more people, as well as solve the age old problem of academic progression for higher national diploma graduates.

He said the polytechnic was getting ready for the conversion by entering into affiliations with organizations within and outside Ghana, which includes the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and Kumasi Polytechnic.

Prof. Atepor, who was made an associate professor of the institution at the council meeting that preceded the congregation, said the human resource development agenda was on course, as teaching staffs were upgrading themselves.

He said currently, the institution had more Ph.D. holders and senior lecturers and that, very soon, there would be professors in every department.

Prof Atepor said the institute was reviewing its strategic plan to guide and prepare them for the conversion and also deal with the challenges that may occur.

He appealed for support to construct a modern auditorium facility for large gatherings, especially during the rainy season, hostel facilities to accommodate the about 90 per of students, who are at the mercy of landlords in the community, a bus for industrial trips, a sports stadium and modern equipment for the laboratories.

The Rector expressed gratitude to the Government for its support and advised the graduating students to take their work seriously.

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