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Should polytechnics be offered the opportunity to offer degree courses? What will be the effect in the trades industry?

Polytechnic education has contributed significantly to the development process of some countries. Indeed, in the advance world technical and vocation graduates has been played a pivotal role in the nation building-putting up new innovation and ideas to solve environmental issues.

A developed country is sometimes rated with the quality graduates from the technical field who are on the field ensuring stability, improving standard among competition.

In Ghana, the Debate of ensure effectiveness of Polytechnic education has been started as some expert are calling on government to allow the polytechnics to award degree programmers.

Parliament in 2009 passed the ‘Polytechnic bill’ recognized the country’s ten Polytechnics as technical institutions with proper organizational management structures and academic validation procedures to run bachelor of technology degree courses but since then degree programmes have not been listed in the institutions.

The Deputy Minister for Education in charge of tertiary institutions Mahama Ayariga has stated unequivocally that government would continue to consider calls by stakeholders to make polytechnics degree awarding institutions but with caution.

According to him, government was being cautious because, it did not want the situation whereby the opportunity would be granted and the polytechnics began to behave like universities that were established to run certain academic programmes but later on decided to digress into other areas of learning, thereby defeating the purpose for which they were established.

Mr. Mahama Ayariga pledged that he would rather personally support the introduction of degree programmes in the area of technical and vocational courses in addition to the science courses that are already in place and not for all other programmes.

The Chairman of the Conference of Rectors of Polytechnics (CORP) Reverend Professor Daniel A. Nyarko admitted, that in recent times polytechnics had been severely criticized that they were deviating from their core mandate of providing training for the middle-level manpower requirements of the nation.

This assertion, he said, tends to overlook the full potentials of the polytechnics as tertiary institutions, adding that, it rather seems to suggest that polytechnics were running courses that were either not approved or were outside their mandate. “In all humility, I wish to state that this is not the case. The polytechnics are running programs or courses that are approved by the regulatory authorities” he declared.

Rev. Prof. Nyarko who is also the Rector of the Accra Polytechnic indicated that polytechnics were empowered by law to award Higher National Diplomas (HNDs), Diplomas, Certificates and Degrees, arguing that polytechnics were not established and confined to providing training only at HND level.

The Chairman of CORP reiterated calls to make polytechnics in Ghana degree awarding institutions because international best practices gave that indication.

“Other polytechnics in Europe and elsewhere have expanded their scope beyond the classical diploma programmes and have all become universities offering programmes up to doctoral level. That is what polytechnics in Ghana should be encouraged and resourced to do. The advantage is that it will offer an alternative avenue for higher education, especially for the technical and vocational graduates”, he stated.

Former President of the Polytechnic Teachers Association (POTAG) Mr Godfred Agbedu told Property Express that awarding Degrees to Polytechnics will rather enhance productive and increase enrollment at the various institutions.

He stated that the Polytechnic are empowered to award Masters Programs but because of the lack of technological advancement the institution is not in position to go that far.

Mr Godfred Agbedu emphasized that education in the polytechnic institutions will improve to it best across the West African sub-region if government boldly allow the institution to award degree programmes.

He stressed that countries like South Korea, Japan, and China have been able to advance because of investment in technical and vocational education.

By: Samuel Mantey

Email: Sammyoo3@yahoo.com

Twitter: SamuelMantey

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June 19, 2012 - Posted by | SETTING THE NEWS AGENDA

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