TVET is seen as the best approach for Ghana
“...the Technical Universities are mandated to provide higher education in Science, Engineering, Technology and Innovation based disciplines, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), Applied arts and related disciplines."
Speech Delivered By Prof. Ing. Kwadwo Adinkrah-Appiah, Vice-Chancellor Of Sunyani Technical University, At The 70th Anniversary Celebration Of St. Mary’s Boys Senior High School, Held On Saturday, September 29, 2018, At Apowa, Takoradi
SPEECH DELIVERED BY PROF. ING. KWADWO ADINKRAH-APPIAH, VICE-CHANCELLOR OF SUNYANI TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY, AT THE 70TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION OF ST. MARY’S BOYS SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL, HELD ON SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2018, AT APOWA, TAKORADI
The Chairman of today’s durbar, Hon. Anthony K. K. Sam, Metropolitan Chief Executive, Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis; Guest of Honour, Most Rev. John Bonaventure Kwofie; Members of Parliament Herein Present; Board of Governors; Nananom; The Headmaster and Staff of St Mary’s Boys Senior High School; Parent Teacher Association; St Mary’s Old Boys Association (SMOBA); Students of St Mary’s Boys Senior High School; Invited Guests; The Press; Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen; All Protocols observed.
I am extremely happy to be here today, to be part of the 70th anniversary celebration of St Mary’s Boys Senior High School, Apowa, Takoradi, my alma mater. First of all, may, I express my profound gratitude to the Board of Governors, Headmaster and Staff, the Parent Teacher Association, the Alumni Association and Students of St Mary’s Boys Senior High School for inviting me to be part of this memorable occasion.
As the Guest speaker for this great event, climaxing the 70th Anniversary Celebration, I have been tasked to speak on the theme for the anniversary, which is: "70 years of Developing Quality Human Resource: a Prerequisite for National Development”"; and also to actively participate in all the activities lined-up by the Alumni Association, because I am an old boy of this great institution.
Indeed, education is considered globally as a vehicle for change in human life and for national development. On the accounts of the importance of education to nation building, past and present governments of our country, over the years, have committed, and continue to commit, substantial budgetary allocations to fund education in order to build the capacity of its citizenry with the aim of ensuring availability of the needed expertise for sustainable national development.
As a result, several reforms have been implemented with the aim of making education relevant to national development and accessible to every child of school going age in Ghana. For instance the implementation of the Junior and Senior High School concepts was to equip the youth with relevant skills that will help them contribute positively to nation building and to give them the opportunity to identify their talents and career paths at early stages in life.
Mr Chairman, it was also to reduce the number of years spent in school at the basic and secondary levels of our educational system so that on completion of university education, government will have a pool of young and energetic graduates readily available for the development of this country.
The implementation of the Free SHS Policy by the present government is to make Secondary Education accessible to every child of Ghana, regardless of the financial status of their parents, after the Junior High School Level. And this policy must be commended and supported by all for it to succeed.
Mr Chairman, over the years, emphasis has been placed on grammar and Theory-based education in this country, instead of Skill-based training on the basis of Science and Mathematics, and this has not yielded much results in advancing the course of our development as a nation.
Presently, the government is seeking to place more emphasis on the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Sector, as this has the propensity of imparting practical skills and knowledge, intertwined with entrepreneurial acumen, to the teaming Youth of this country. This will make the Youth readily employable by industry and also give them the potential to create jobs for themselves and many others, to reduce the acute graduate unemployment spate in the country.
In fact, TVET is seen as the best approach for Ghana’s human capital development to accelerate the country’s industrialization drive that is being pursued by the present government through its flagship programmes such as the 1D1F, Ghana beyond Aid and Planting for Food and Jobs.
Mr. Chairman, as the Head of one of the fledging Technical Universities in Ghana, I have always remained passionate about issues concerning the human resource development in this country. This is because, I strongly believe that this country cannot, and will not, develop if we continue to depend heavily on the abundant natural resources that we have, for development. Development thrives on Innovation and Innovation blooms on Technology and Technology does not come but by apposite learning.
God was so kind to us, as a nation, that he endowed us with several natural resources including Gold, Bauxite, Manganese, Timber, and quite recently Oil. But we need to process the cocoa we produce, the oil we drill, and the gold we have been mining over years. Not until we begin to process these primary commodities into secondary products on a large scale, we cannot see significant development, neither can we provide decent living standards to our people. And the key to this is quality and appropriate education for all for the development of the right skills and technologies we need for value addition to our natural resources.
This, therefore, calls for a paradigm shift in our educational system by putting more attention on the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), as well as the promotion of interest in TVET Subjects at the primary and Secondary School levels, to spearhead our industrialization agenda.
Mr Chairman, permit me to ask one question that poses a challenge to our Educational System. If you do one particular thing for so long and it does not yield results, do you have any excuse not to change it to another option that has been tried and tested in other countries? Countries such as Japan, China, and quite recently, the Asian Tigers, including Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan, all have developed on the basis of aggressive pursuit of skills development, based on Science and Technology. Ghana cannot do it differently.
The only way forward, therefore, is to intensify the study of Science and Mathematics at the Second Cycle level by formulating attractive policies at the governmental level to entice majority of Junior High School leavers to enter into Science and Applied Science Programmes at the various Secondary Schools and TVET Institutions across the country.
This will help prepare majority of the teeming Youth in Ghana to qualify to enter into the various programmes run by the Science, Engineering, Technology and Innovation institutions of Higher Learning, particularly the Technical Universities in the country.
Specific attractive packages such as extension of Free Education to TVET, Science and Technology Students up to the First Degree Level at the Technical Universities and other Science and Technology Universities in the country would help. This is one of the key strategies that can help attract the Youth to study Science, Engineering and Technology programmes, in our Universities, to enhance innovation leading to higher productivity in this country.
Mr. Chairman, with the passage of the Technical Universities Act, 2016, Act 922 (as amended), the Technical Universities are mandated to provide higher education in Science, Engineering, Technology and Innovation based disciplines, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), Applied arts and related disciplines.
The opportunities that exist in the Technical Universities cannot benefit the Youth in this country if majority of students continue to offer Humanities rather than Science, Mathematics and TVET programmes at the Second Cycle Level of our System of Education. This trend must change now if we really desire to see significant development, through human capital formation, in the foreseeable future.
Mr. Chairman, as mentioned earlier, the implementation of the Free SHS policy is quite laudable. However, it has come with increased student enrolment at the SHS level which will pose a challenge to the existing tertiary institutions in the country. Permit me to add my voice to the call for strategic positioning of tertiary institutions in the country, especially the fledging Technical Universities, by improving and expanding the existing facilities in readiness to help absorb the large numbers of students that will be coming out of the Senior High Schools/Technical Institutes in the 2019/2020 academic year.
My advice to parents is that they should take advantage of the Free SHS Policy to ensure that they enroll all children into Secondary Schools/Technical Institutes, when they are due, so that they can achieve Secondary Education. This will enable them pursue University Education later, especially, in the Technical Universities in Ghana, to acquire the requisite skills and knowledge that will help them contribute their quota to Ghana’s development.
Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, today marks 70 years of St. Mary’s Boys Senior High School’s contribution to human capacity development of this country, through secondary education. This institution has, for the past 70 years, contributed its quota in producing Engineers, Technologists, Teachers, Medical Doctors, Lawyers, and so on, for nation building, especially the post-independence era.
Mr. Chairman, permit me, therefore, to use this occasion to pay glowing tribute to St Mary’s Boys Senior High School, Apowa, for playing a very significant role in the development of the human capital requirement for Ghana’s development. This institution has made me what I am today and I feel proud and confident to call myself an alumnus of Marisco; and to address this august gathering as a professional Civil Engineer and an accomplished educationist, in fact, a professor of Civil Engineering. That is what Marisco has done to me and I am very proud of that.
I can also confidently say that there are many past students who passed through the four corners of this great institution, some of them with us here today and many others out there, who occupy higher positions of trust in this country and elsewhere, contributing immensely to the development of our motherland. Marisco, ye ma wo ayekoo, to wit; Marisco, we are grateful to you.
Furthermore, on behalf of the past and present students of this great institution, let me also pay homage to the present and past teaching and non-teaching staff for their contribution in imparting knowledge and character to many of us. Mother Ghana is most grateful to you. It is my hope that you will continue to render selfless services to this institution, and Ghana at large.
And now, let me advice the current crop of students who are privileged to have the opportunity to be trained in this great institution. My advice to you is that you should take your studies seriously so that the investment made in you by government and your parents will not be in vain. This is the same opportunity some of us had, years ago, and utilized positively that has now put us in higher positions of authority in this country.
You now even have a better opportunity to outdo what we are doing today in future, if you take your studies seriously. St Mary’s will inculcate in you values, character and above all, knowledge. Yours is to study diligently to come out with success at every level of your educational career. Eschew all anti-social behaviors such as smoking, promiscuity, abuse of alcohol and drugs, and above all fear God. If you abstain from all negative practices you will be able to accomplish your dreams in future to contribute your quota to the development of this country for generations yet unborn to benefit.
Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, before I take my seat may I congratulate you and wish all of us a happy 70th anniversary celebration.
Thank you for your attention and may God Bless us all.
Speech Delivered By Prof. Ing. Kwadwo Adinkrah-Appiah