Letter to the President: Investments into technical and vocational training

In just a few days you will be inaugurated to the high office as the president of the republic of Ghana. Congratulations!

Among the many things that are dear to my heart, is the needed investment into technical and vocational education in our country. It is very evident that when it comes to technical and vocational skills development and implementation we are not doing well as a country.

Several literature attests to this fact. One of this was a news item that was reported in the national newspaper the Daily Graphic on January 4, 2017 which was titled ‘Survey records low enrollment in technical and vocational training’.

According to the report following a baseline survey which was conducted in November in some 12 districts, data available at the educational management and information system for 2015, indicated a decline of about 10,000 enrollment in TVET.

Again in the daily graphic of December 22, 2015, there was a news item which stated that Ghana is paying dearly for the neglect of technical and vocational education and training since foreigners take over jobs that require technical skills.

This report was captured in a strategic plan of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

The issue of Technical and vocational education training has been poor patronage, relevance to the job market, and poor quality of content and delivery as well.

The neglect of technical and vocational education in the country contribute to poor workmanship, lack of employment, poor productivity, and foreign artisans taking over our skilled areas of work etc.

Several governments have attempted to solve the canker confronting technical and vocational education.

There have been a number of policies on technical and vocational education, and only God knows when these fine policies will travel beyond their existence in books to proper implementation.

From the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA), 2010-2013 on TVET, a number of similar policies were outlined some of which are;

1.Construction and rehabilitation/upgrading of facilities in all public technical vocational Institutes in each District across the country
2.Repositioning TVET in education and Human Resource Development and strengthening linkages with Industry.
3.Re-organization and expansion of the current national apprenticeship programme, providing opportunities for trainers in Technical and Vocational Institutes to undertake further studies.

Despite the policies above, I would like to propose the following for consideration to improving technical and vocational education in the country.

*Establishment of a national award scheme for artisans and craftsmen and the Provision of scholarships for Technical and Vocational Education Training to encourage patronage by the youth
*Establish technical resource centers at the circuit level to support the practical aspects of Basic Design Technology at the basic level.
*Implement apprenticeship policy for Junior High School dropouts as indicated in the 2006 Education Reform
*Commit 10% of the education budget into Technical and Vocational Education Training.
*Provide full support and backing to COTVET to enable them execute their mandate as stipulated in ACT 718.

As you look at the many areas of interest and concerns to the development of the country, please consider technical education since it will help in a long way.

By: Samuel Otenadu

(The writer is a construction engineer and a member of Institution of Engineering and Technology, Ghana who is into private practice)