Technical university boards must be independent to push TVET agenda

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The Omanhene of Essikado Traditional Area, Nana Kobina Nketsia, has called for the independence of Technical University governing boards to allow them to take independent decisions to ensure quality technical education for Ghana’s next generation of industrial skilled labour.

Nana Kobina Nketsia who was speaking at the third lecture series at the Takoradi Technical University on TVET education said the current TVET institutions are not inventing anything new and blamed the problem on the lack of independence of governing boards.

“They talk about low-cost education. Please, you can’t put cost on education or the psychology of your mind. In a lot of our institutions, we have governing boards, but it is the government that appoints them.”

“When it comes to enrolment, for instance, there is an obvious number of students TTU cannot go above considering the infrastructure available but these appointing authorities will sit in Accra and tell you [governing board] that we know you can take 2,000, but this year make it 6,000. Meanwhile you don’t even have the equipment. So the governing boards must actually govern. If they are not governing, then you must not call them governing boards but government agents”.

Touching on the theme for the 3rd Convocation Lecture Series; which is “Repositioning Ghana as the TVET hub for Africa-The Role of Takoradi Technical University,” Nana Nketsia said it is not right for outsiders without natural resources endowment to direct Ghana on how to use its resources hence it is high time the right attention is given to TVET education to empower Ghana.

“You don’t let resourceless people direct you on how to use your resources…Ghana must keep its natural resource endowment from raw export until a new generation of Ghanaians with the right skills to exploit it to benefit the country comes onboard and not foreigners.”

“An uncreative people will not have anything to do in the world, hence Ghana must take TVET seriously, even though it has been with us all these while as Africans. If your education does not give you power, then you’re not educated but mere indoctrination. Therefore, education must provide a clear direction for one’s future and solve problems…Mis-education is the real problem of Africa”, he added.

The Omanhene, himself, a former university lecturer, was quick to challenge Takoradi Technical University to rebrand itself and focus on its core mandate of providing a higher Technical Vocational Education Training.

“To engineer history is to manipulate consciousness. To engineer consciousness is to manipulate possibilities. And to engineer possibilities is to manipulate power. That is why this city [Takoradi] is important and lucky to have this university [TTU] sitting here. Because the mindset of this city cannot be engineered by any outsider but the people here…Therefore TTU must break the chains that hold the university back. The future of TTU must not be determined from outside but from within and this can be achieved”.

The Vice Chancellor of TTU, Professor John Frank Eshun, said TTU in pursuit of its vision of becoming the centre of excellence in technical education and research has instituted several measures to help students discover themselves through the development of competency-based curriculum and upgrading.

“TVET is key to Ghana’s industrialization, as it would provide the practical skills needed for its industrial drive. Skilled technicians and artisans are needed to fill gaps in various sectors of the economy. I believe Takoradi Technical University’s current programmes which are TVET tailor-made make TTU poised to bridge the skill-gap required by industries through the implementation of the Competency-Based Training (CBT) targeted at promoting equal access, opportunities and career pathways for students to develop their vocational and technical skills”, he said.

Chairman of the TTU Convocation Board, Dr. Gladys Quartey, said the TTU lecture series is a key platform where the university interacts with their community on relevant subjects of interest to ensure crucial social equity effort to shape the TVET agenda of Ghana and Africa.

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