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General News of Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Polytechnic conversion will boost academic progression - POTAG

The Kumasi branch of the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG) says government’s initiative to convert the polytechnics into technical universities will boost academic progression in addition to their technical and vocational mandate.

POTAG is angry with the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana over what it considers negative comments about government’s bid to convert polytechnics into technical universities.

Members describe as baseless, unfounded and unfortunate, suggestions by Professor Ernest Aryeetey that the policy will not solve problems of polytechnics.

Speaking at the 25th Anniversary celebration of NDK Financial Services in Accra, Professor Aryeetey said that, in principle, he is not opposed to the conversion but believes government cannot solve any problem simply by converting the polytechnics into universities.

“Do you solve the problem by re-designating them?” he asked, adding, “Everybody knows polytechnics are poorly equipped and if you have not provided those things and you change their names you have not solved anything.”

Drawing a distinction between universities and polytechnics, he said universities are there to generate ideas for the polytechnics to convert them into skills and not the other way round.

“When you turn polytechnics into university you are saying basically ‘spend more time doing research and generate ideas’, he said.

According to Prof Aryeetey, that is the last thing the country would want to do.

However, chairman of POTAG at Kumasi Polytechnic Elijah Boadu Frimpong, says government’s initiative will boost academic progression at polytechnics in addition to their technical and vocational mandate.

He wants intellectuals and the public to rather rally behind the implementation of the conversion process.

"His comments is unfortunate because of the things he said bothered on maligning our ability to actually start this technical university. We do Bachelors of Technology top up at the polytechnics and the polytechnic has the ability to do courses up to the Bachelor's level.

Mr Frimoping said lifting the status of the polytechnics they can actually continue to do the work of training students in line with the technical or vocational system to the Masters and Doctorate level so they are relevant to industry and commerce.