Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum believes the holistic transformation of the country’s economy is dependent on the gross intake of students into tertiary institutions.
He has therefore called on stakeholders in the educational sector to prioritize enrollment into tertiary education.
Speaking at the National Stakeholder Consultative Forum towards Sustainable Infrastructural Development in Higher Education Institutions in Ghana, he indicated that the country will not experience transformation if its tertiary enrollment is not increased.
“Our economies are not totally transformed. Things are not happening the way they should.
“And we will never be able to see the transformation without improving our tertiary education.
“That’s why as a Minister for Education, in alignment with the vision of the President, I have prioritized tertiary education.
“Because, tertiary education is what is going to give me the medium and short term, quick coins as a nation,” he said.
The sector Minister revealed that the country’s gross tertiary enrollment ratio is presently 18.8.
He deemed the figure disturbing and believes until it is increased, the country would not witness socio-economic transformation.
He said economic transformation can also be brought about if the country focuses on improving STEM education.
“The 18.8 ratio would not bring about socioeconomic transformation. We may see some evolution, but transformation will never come unless we can move that number up.
“When you move those numbers up, then you have the critical mass of people with the minds to change the country.
“Especially, looking at how to improve Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education, in alignment with the increase in the gross enrollment ratio into tertiary education.
“This is when the transformation becomes much closer, and that’s when we then can see a nation that is transforming in its fortunes,” he said.
Dr. Adutwum also indicated the 2022 budget has good prospects for the education sector as the government plans building 12 ultramodern TVET schools, 35 well-furnished STEM high schools, and six universities with 5 of them being used for STEM education.
“The appendix 10c of the 2022 budget talks about building 12 state-of-the-art technical and vocational education and training schools.
“It talks about the National Film and Television Institute being modernized and building 35 STEM high schools.
“Appendix 10d also reveals upgrading and enhancement of technical schools and also 21st century Junior High Schools.
“Junior High Schools are going to be transformed to give Ghana a true six-year secondary education.
“Buildings that will be just like high schools. We are going to shut down the old JHS buildings that we used for middle school education in communities where these establishments will be made.
Meanwhile, Vice Chancellor of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Professor Rita Akosua Dickson revealed that the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) approach employed by universities to address infrastructural deficit has not been successful over the years.
She therefore appealed to other actors in the educational sector to facilitate the provision of alternative means to solve infrastructural challenges in universities.
“As student numbers keep increasing, we must look for alternative means of funding our infrastructural projects.
“With student population of over 80,000, our desire is to accommodate all our students.
“Unfortunately, we are unable to keep even 20% percent on campus. We have had to rely on private accommodation off campus to bail us out.
“All efforts to encourage and attract private sector investors to commit to infrastructural development for students accommodation have not met expected results.
“Even though we keep reviewing the policy to make it more attractive consistently.
“Government cannot bear the cost of all infrastructural needs so we need to find innovative ways of supporting with solutions.
We would still require the Public-Private-Partnership to achieve the intended results,” she said.
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