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Regional News of Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Source: GNA

Six polytechnics qualify for upgrading as technical universities

Six public polytechnics earmarked for conversion into technical universities have met the eligibility criteria, a report of the Education Committee of Parliament has said.

They are the Accra, Ho, Koforidua, Sunyani, Kumasi and Takoradi polytechnics.

The eligibility criteria hinged on institutional standing, academic staff requirements and evidence of collaboration with industry and employers in the delivery of programmes, the report said.

Meanwhile, the report, which was on the Technical Universities Bill 2016, said: “It came to the attention of the Committee that the Government is committed to ensuring that the four remaining polytechnics are encouraged and supported to meet the conversion criteria.”

On the issue of appropriate designation for the head of a technical university, the Committee was of the view that since almost all heads of traditional universities are referred to as ‘Vice Chancellors’ it is appropriate to adopt the same title for the heads of the technical universities.

“This, the Committee observed, was fundamental to rebranding and improving public image about Technical Universities, and putting them on a parity of esteem with the traditional public universities,” the report said.

According to the report, the Ministry of Education strongly opined that the title ‘Rector’ should be maintained as a mark of differentiation between traditional universities and technical universities which have their orientation largely grounded on vocational skills and development and the application of science and technology.

The committee suggested that “it is important to maintain the nomenclature ‘Rector’ to give Technical Universities a unique identity”.

Addressing the House, Professor Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang, the Minister of Education, who highlighted key strengths of the education policy, said: “It was in the 2013 State of the Nation address that the announcement was made and a lot of work has been done to advance this announcement and to translate it into practical reality.”

Contributions from both sides of the House underscored the need for stakeholders, especially the Government, to commit adequate resources to the institutions to really manifest as technical universities which have the right teaching and managerial personnel, and proper linkages with both local and foreign technical institutions and industries.

Members also stressed that it was necessary to strengthen the base of technical education through adequate resource and appropriate curriculum at the basic level.

The conversion of polytechnic into technical universities was one of President John Mahama’s manifesto promises ahead of the general election in 2012.

The purpose of the transformation of all polytechnics into technical universities, government explains, is to bridge the gap between academia and industry.

It is also geared towards training students with employable skills for economic transformation in the country.

A Technical Committee on the conversion of polytechnics to technical universities announced its decision to convert all polytechnics into technical universities beginning 2016 in phases.