The Acting Rector for the Wa Polytechnic Mohammed Iddrisu Ngmenipuo says Ghana’s post-secondary education sector remains largely preoccupied with producing graduates that will seek jobs rather than create jobs.
This, Mr. Ngmenipuo said explains why the Wa Polytechnic is positioning itself strategically as a modern Technical and Vocational Education and Training, (TVET) institution that will equip students with the requisite skills and expertise to tap into the many business opportunities in the country.
“We must be able to develop programs that ensure that our graduates do not only have the skills that employers want, but also that these skills and qualifications are complimented by real workplace experience,” he explained.
Mr. Ngmenipuo expects this to be done by developing healthy relationships with industry both in the Ghana and on the foreign front.
“The 21st Century has been proclaimed as the age of alliances. The very existence of any organization is dependent on the extent to which they are willing and able to cooperate with other organizations,” he said.
The Acting Rector added that, “the Wa Polytechnic has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Institute of Directors Ghana for collaboration in the advancement of corporate governance in Ghana. Again, we [Wa Polytechnic] signed an MOU with our Togolese counterpart that was successfully launched in Accra”. He was speaking at the 7th Congregation of the Wa Polytechnic in Wa.
The 7th Congregation of the Wa Polytechnic saw the conferment of Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) and other certificates to 240 students.
The Acting Rector for the Wa Polytechnic, Mohammed Iddrisu Ngmenipuo said it is high time all stakeholders in the education sector particularly government stopped paying lip service to TVET institutions and address the challenges facing the schools that prevent them from fully realizing their potential as a world class centre for applied technology.
Mr. Ngmenipuo added that the non-conversion of the Wa Polytechnic to a Technical University has contributed significantly to its dwindling enrollment.
“The continuous delay of government converting the Wa and Bolga Polytechnics to Technical Universities is further driving down enrolment and also causing faculty and staff to begin moving to the other side where they feel the grasses are greener,” he lamented.
Mr. Ngmenipuo was unhappy that “Wa Polytechnic is the only institution in this country in the tertiary category without even a single hostel”.
He also mentioned although the staff do their best in their line of duty, it is becoming a daunting task as the Polytechnic has not been able to recruit staff for about 7 years.
The Acting Rector also appealed to the Regional Minister to help widen and reconstruct the roads in the school.
The Chairman of the Governing Council for the Wa Polytechnic, Professor Daniel Bagah said TVET has been a major driver of development in first world countries across the globe. He said Ghana therefore needs to take the TVET sector to the next level.
“TVET must be the mainstay of Ghana’s quest to achieve industrialization 62 years after her independence. This can only be accomplished when adequate equipment and training are made available for the youth to enable them to be more productive and self-reliant,” he explained. Professor Bagah said the story of Wa Polytechnic is not without its challenges.
The Upper West Regional Minister Dr Hafiz Bin Salih said details of three priority projects of the Polytechnic have been forwarded to the Education Ministry.
He said the completion of the projects among others would facilitate the conversion of the Polytechnic into a Technical University. He encouraged students not to discriminate when looking for jobs.
Dr. Bin Salih gave the assurance that government is committed to equipping the youth hence the implementation of several youth oriented policies saying “as you graduate from the school today, it is important that you brace yourself to take advantage of the numerous opportunities government is creating for the youth to deal with the problem of graduate and youth unemployment”.
He continued to say that “government through the Ministry of Business Development is creating an enabling environment for graduates to grow their businesses and also develop business ideas into businesses. Government is doing this through the National Entrepreneurship and Investment Program (NEIP). Under this programme, government has put a seed capital of about 10 million Ghana Cedis to support and provide cheap financing for entrepreneurs”.
The overall best graduating student, Paul Zingunaa called on his fellow graduands to be steadfast in their continuous pursuit for both academic and occupational excellence. A number of deserving students were given citations, scholarships and cash.
Story filed by Mark Smith