The technical committee on the conversion of the polytechnics to technical universities has set September 2016 as the effective starting date for the programme.
The Chairman of the technical committee, Dr. George Afeti, made this known at a stakeholders’ consultation forum on the exercise in Accra on Tuesday, December 6. He explained that the time lapse was to allow for sufficient time to carefully evaluate the current status and readiness of the polytechnics for the upgrade.
Speaking at the forum under the theme: "Repositioning Technical Education as a Driver of Economic Transformation and National Development”, Dr Afeti said the only challenge will be funding the programme. Therefore, he propose a budget of GH¢9,000 per student annually for the programme.
“That is only 50 per cent of what the German system spends on the technical university students. GH¢9,000 is not much to ask for.”
“That is why we must go slowly. That is why we must have a phased programme where the few polytechnics that become technical universities can benefit from adequate funding and then their products can then show that this is what you get from a good technical university.”
Dr Afeti also presented 10 key recommendations of the committee, among which was the proposal that the universities should not “mimic the traditional or conventional universities in their course offerings”.
Rather, the committee recommended that the new universities “carve a niche for themselves as vocational-oriented, career- focused higher educational institutions contributing to the training of a highly skilled workforce to support economic growth and national development”.
The Chairman of the Conference of Rectors of Polytechnics, Professor Nicholas Nsowah-Nuamah stated that “We have what it takes to get to that technical university level, and as I speak now some of us are already at that level.”
The forum brought together stakeholders to brainstorm on the Technical Universities Bill and the report of the technical committee on the conversion of the polytechnics to technical universities.