President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo cutting the anniversary cake together with Dr Archibald Letsa (2nd left), the Volta Regional Minister, and some members of the university council of the Ho Technical University. Behind them is Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, Minister of Education Picture: SAMUEL TEI ADANO
The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has assured Ghanaians that the government will not engage in lip service in its quest to transform technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in the country as it works tirelessly to expand technical and vocational opportunities for its industrialisation agenda.
He said it was for that reason that it had laid emphasis on TVET as a major pillar for development in its educational policies to strengthen the linkages between education and industry, as well as empower young people to deploy their skills to employ themselves and others.
President Akufo-Addo was speaking at the climax of the 50th anniversary of the Ho Technical University (HTU) in Ho last Saturday.
The anniversary, on the theme: ‘Consolidating the gains of technical and vocational education and training in Ghana’, was to celebrate its achievements over the past 50 years.
The university, which started with 40 students, can now boast five faculties, two schools, 18 departments, three sectors and 18 academic and non-academic units, with a total workforce of 493.
President Akufo-Addo observed that “enough lip service has been paid to the TVET sector”, instead of addressing issues confronting the sector.
To reverse the trend, he said, “We have taken concrete steps towards redeeming the misconception that technical and vocational education is inferior and patronised only by financially or intellectually less-endowed students.”
He said, the five-year strategic plan for TVET approved by the Cabinet had certain reforms, such as setting up a TVET Service and a TVET Council, as well as dedicating a whole division of the education service to the management of technical and vocational education, with its own director-general.
The government, he said, was aware of the infrastructure needs of technical universities, adding that efforts were being made at supplying demonstration laboratories for engineering students in some of the universities, including the HTU.
“In addition, the government is committed to constructing 20 modern TVET institutions across the country, as well as upgrading some 35 existing ones,” he added.
The focus on TVET, he said, was necessary because the government’s flagship programmes, such as the One-district, One-factory initiative, meant to industrialise the country could only be successful with the availability of the requisite human resource skills which institutions such as the HTU were meant to provide.
“We shall be able to transform Ghana’s economy and reduce unemployment when we pay attention to technical and vocational training. That is where the skills needed for the modern economy can be developed,” he stressed.
President Akufo-Addo used the occasion to announce the government’s intention to rename the HTU after Ephraim Amu, the great musicologist, as soon as the parliamentary processes were followed.
“It is wholly fitting that this great, modest man, composer of what easily passes for our unofficial national anthem, Yen Ara Asaase Ni, should be properly honoured by a grateful posterity and especially by the citizens of his native Volta Region,” he said.
On February 27, 2018, the Governing Council of the HTU, in a letter to the Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, stated, among other things, that “Dr Ephraim Amu’s contributions to society and national development have been acknowledged and acclaimed worldwide”.
The acting Vice-Chancellor of the HTU, Prof. Emmanuel Kojo Sakyi, said the school had had challenging times in the transition from a polytechnic to a university and stressed that it was committed to providing the needed human resource to help the industrialisation agenda of the nation.