You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2018 10 04Article 690265

Opinions of Thursday, 4 October 2018

Columnist: Robert Kwame Oppong

Free shs policy will be “senseless” without focusing on technical and vocational education

It is imperative to acknowledge the hastened move of our president and NPP government in executing the various developmental agenda in their manifesto. We say bravo to Nana “Show Boy” for the various educational interventions especially the Free SHS Policy.

This policy has liberated parents from financial difficulties and has increased enrollment especially at the SHSs. We do appreciate this but have we ever seized the opportunity to ask ourselves whether we have enough tertiary institutions to absorb the huge number of Free SHS graduates in the next two or three years? Even if there are enough facilities to absorb them what sectors of our economy would employ these huge numbers of students after tertiary education? I guess no. So Ghanaians can we maximize the benefits of Free SHS Policy? Or we are blindly following a policy because it is free?

Even though, the Free SHS policy is welcoming, I do not support and will never support where we are investing our limited resources. I do not think the purpose of spending gargantuan amount of money is to get citizens who can merely read and write without paying much attention to their job prospects.

All other things being equal, it should go beyond ability to read and write and offer promising future without impediment of any sort. Why do successive governments in Ghana take pride in boosting liberal education (SHS) to the detriment of Technical and Vocational Education? Why do we spend so much on students to become consumers rather than producers? This will simply create dependency culture.

In order for Free SHS policy to be worthwhile and play a key role in the economic progress of the continent there is a need for a paradigm shift. Anything less will culminate in high number of graduates chasing non-existing jobs.

We should change our education policy and our funding system to favour Technical and Vocational Education and Training. It is ridiculous and mind-boggling to spend about 75 percent of taxpayers’ money to produce grammar school graduates while neglecting those who can be self-employed and employ others after their training. This may not be a sign of a generational thought Nana Show Boy!!!

It will be unfortunate and economically unwise to spend billions of cedis to offer free education to students on the current curriculum that will produce the same caliber of graduates with no specific and distinctive skills.

As a country we need educational polices that will encourage Technical and Vocational Education. This can simply help fight unemployment. Good ideal!!! In the quest of NDC government to prioritize Technical and Vocational Education, the former President John Mahama merely converted Polytechnics to Technical Universities without considering students to feed these Technical Universities. This is a myopic policy.

This has been confirmed by Charles Tsegah the former Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES) that “The NDC did not make any effort to show we are promoting technical schools.

The government of the NDC when in power, stained the institutions with dirt and set up technical universities, but they did not think about how the technical universities will be populated”(https://yen.com.gh/115756-converting-polytechnics-universities-planned-properly-former-ges-boss.html).

What is NPP government doing differently to change Ghanaian perception about Technical and Vocational Education? What is NPP government doing to increase enrollment in Technical and Vocational Education more than SHS? According to Prof Adei “self-employment opportunities are higher in Technical and Vocational education than in grammar school education...” (https://www.graphic.com.gh/news/politics/why-prof-adei-thinks-something-is-wrong-with ghanaians.html).

Food for Thought

1. Let us use taxpayers’ money to sponsor in full those going to Technical and Vocational institute whilst 50 percent of the cost of the liberal education should be borne by the State.

2. Let us build one Technical and Vocational institute in every district to reinforce the public interest about TVET.

3. There should be adequate sensitization programmes to educate the public about the importance of Technical and Vocational education in order to change the misconception that Technical and Vocational Education is inferior, and patronized only by less endowed students. This is the only way to develop human resource worth the money being spent on Free SHS Policy.

4. Let us make sure that all Sec/Tec schools (e.g. Goka Sec/Tec, Twene Amanfo Sec/Tec) are made to do only Technical and Vocational institute courses

My fellow Ghanaians let us do away with partisan politics and revolt against the idea of using taxpayers’ money to sponsor “bookish” education. Those who are now hailing, applauding and giving all sorts of appellations for giving their wards Free SHS will tomorrow hold you accountable if their wards do not get job after graduation.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo let us rethink to use taxpayers’ money on Technical and Vocational Education the only means to develop human resource worth the money being spent on FREE SHS policy.

Be part of the voice to call on “Nana Show Boy” (politician) to rethink and use taxpayers’ money in financing Technical and Vocational Education. #1District 1TVET#

Join our Newsletter