Develop attractive policies

The Vice-Chancellor of the Sunyani Technical University (STU), Professor Kwadwo Adinkrah-Appiah, has appealed to the government to develop a deliberate policy that prepares students at the basic level to take up science, technology and engineering programmes at the tertiary level.

He contended that if the students entered tertiary institutions with qualifications that did not allow them to read science, technology and engineering programmes, "we cannot do much."

Human resource development

"So, we need to go back to the basics and put in place deliberate policies to get the children to develop the appetite for science-related programmes to qualify them to read such programmes at the tertiary level," Prof. Adinkrah-Appiah proposed at the ongoing 71st New Year School and Conference at the University of Ghana, Legon.

He was speaking in a panel discussion on the topic, "Ghana Beyond Aid: Human Capital Development, Research and other innovations."

Prof. Adinkrah-Appiah expressed concerns that polytechnics and technical universities were always accused of running more humanity programme, stressing that even though the STU had more science, technology and engineering as well as technical vocational education training (TVET) programmes, it was still struggling to get students into those programmes.

"But the few business programmes that we introduced, you see the number of students coming for that direction and of course, because we also need internally generated funds to run the system, we pick them," he explained.

Deliberate move

"So, we really need a deliberate effort to make sure that majority of our students qualify to read the science-related programmes," he said, adding that if the student was not good in Mathematics, he or she could not read engineering or any of the science-related programmes.

He said there should be a policy direction that would create incentives to attract the youth into such programmes and there should be a deliberate effort to push majority of the youth into the engineering, science and technology field.

Focus of technical universities

He said technical universities had positioned themselves to equip their students with the relevant practical skills, “because we do not want graduates to be embarrassed on the field, before you go out of school, you have the opportunity of going to industry to work to have the practical aspects so that industry will not spend much resources on you when you complete and join them.

Sometimes we think it is only the government's responsibility but industry has to pay attention to practical training. They must give opportunity for internship for our students so that when they join them later such industries will not spend time and money to retrain them on the practical aspects,” he stated.

Prof. Adinkrah-Appiah said as technical universities, they were focusing on training and developing expertise in the construction industry such as plumbing, welding and tiling, adding that individuals who wanted quality work had to hire people from Lome, Togo to perform such duties.

He said in the automobile industry, “we want to train auto mechanics, car manufacturers and my vision is to make sure that in the next 10 years, we will lead in the area of electric car manufacturing in Ghana. We mean it and we are very serious with that.”

Prof. Adinkrah-Appiah noted that electrical and electronic engineering industry and artificial intelligence were the areas the country needed to focus on, “because that is where the world is moving and Ghana must join.”

He said if Ghana was serious at not going for aid anymore, then, “we need to develop our local content,” and the area to focus on was the development of the human capital.

End of article

Source: Graphic Online

VC, Prof. Ing. K. Adinkrah-Appiah

The Minister of State in-charge of Tertiary Education, Professor Kwesi Yankah has challenged technical universities to chart a new path of research and innovation distinct from other universities, adding that this new paradigm poses a huge responsibility and requires leadership that has the vision to deliver optimum outcomes to shape the development landscape.

“The redefined mandate has been to provide  higher education in engineering, science, technology-based disciplines, technical and vocational education and training, applied arts and related disciplines as stated in the Technical Universities Act, 2016…” he was speaking at the investiture of the first substantive Vice-Chancellor of Sunyani Technical University in Sunyani.

The Governing Council of Sunyani Technical University at its sitting on 26th September, 2019 accepted the recommendations of the Search Committee set up by the Council and appointed Professor Ing. Kwadwo Adinkrah-Appiah, a renowned Civil Engineer and erudite scholar, as the first substantive Vice-Chancellor of the Sunyani Technical University with effect from 1st September, 2019.

Prior to his appointment, he was the Interim Vice-Chancellor of the institution, having been appointed as such in 2016. He holds Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, MPhil and PhD degrees, in Civil Engineering from the same university.

He was employed as an Instructor at the Building Technology Department of the then Sunyani Polytechnic in the year 2001 and was appointed as a Lecturer in 2006 and was later promoted to the rank of Senior Lecturer at the Civil Engineering Department in 2012, and subsequently as an Associate Professor of Civil Engineering in 2016.

The K. Nsiah Gyabaah auditorium, the university’s largest conference centre, where the investiture took place was filled to capacity throughout the duration of the programme. The Tanokrom Agromma from the Centre for National Culture in Sunyani, the STU Choir and the 3BN Brass Band group were at hand to entertain the gathering with some cultural displays and songs

Investiture of Prof. Ing. K. Adinkrah-Appiah

Transformation through TVET

Delivering the keynote address, Minister of State in-charge of Tertiary Education, Professor Kwesi Yankah noted that skills development in vocational and technical training is what will transform Africa’s economies and drastically reduce unemployment.

“As technical universities, there is absolutely no need to be desperately seeking academic laurels and charting paths that are normally associated with traditional liberal arts universities….Avoid following the ‘madding’ crowd towards the monotony of uniformity, but position yourselves toward the progressive path of differentiation and diversification” Prof. Yankah stated.

In his inaugural address, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ing Kwadwo Adinkrah-Appiah used the occasion to express his gratitude to all those who have contributed to his success story which has culminated in his current status.

Strategic Plan

Outlining his vision for the university, Professor Ing. Adinkrah Appiah said management had already set up a Strategic Plan Review Committee which is working to evaluate the successes and failures of the current strategic plan and come out with a new five-year Strategic Plan, which will fit into the ten-year development plan for the period 2020 to 2030.

He was positive that through this, the university will be re-positioned to utilize science, technology, engineering, technical and vocational education and training as well as applied arts to achieve its mandate as contained in the Technical Universities ACT, ACT 922 as amended.

The Bono Regional Minister, Mrs. Evelyn Ama Kumi-Richardson stated that the NPP government recognized and placed premium on technical and vocational education and training as a key driver and pillar to national development.

STU Entrepreneurial Initiative - BEDEFU

As part of government’s plans to encourage and nurture the entrepreneurial skills of students, the Ministry of Business Development has inaugurated the Sunyani Technical University branch of the School Entrepreneurship Initiative at a ceremony in Sunyani.

The initiative, which is being spearheaded the Ministry of Business Development through the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan, primarily seeks to equip students with entrepreneurial skills to enable them set up their own businesses rather than becoming job seekers upon the completion of school.

Speaking at the inauguration, the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the Sunyani Technical University, Dr. Justice Solomon Korantwi-Barimah announced that the university was re-defining itself to become an entrepreneurial institution by actively encouraging and training students into self-employment.

To this end, the university, through its Business, Entrepreneurship Development and External Funding Unit (BEDEFU), has commenced the formation of departmental Entrepreneurship Clubs (EDCs), which is also known as Entrepreneurship Development Cells (E-Cells).

“The university has further established and operationalized an Entrepreneurship Hub which focuses on entrepreneurial practices with the donation of some computers and accessories from the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communication in September this year”, he added.

Dr. Korantwi-Barimah said as Ghana moves toward private sector-driven economy, it would be critical to ensure that a considerable number of students who graduate in science, technology, engineering and management studies become people with creativity, multi-faceted skills and diversified entrepreneurial knowledge.

He encouraged students to take advantage of the opportunities provided them through the School Entrepreneurship Initiative and the university to acquire the skills needed to be successful in future.

For his part, the Programme Manager at the Ministry of Business Development, Kwadwo Frimpong encouraged the students not to under-rate any business idea that would come in their minds but to think through it carefully and make efforts to realise it.

“What makes business is ideas, but ideas don’t’ make business. What makes business are well thought through ideas…so what entails in business making is a lot of thinking, thinking and thinking…..” he explained.

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Sunyani Technical University