The Kumasi branch of the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG) says government’s initiative to convert the polytechnics into technical universities will boost academic progression in addition to their technical and vocational mandate.
POTAG is angry with the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana over what it considers negative comments about government’s bid to convert polytechnics into technical universities.
Members describe as baseless, unfounded and unfortunate, suggestions by Professor Ernest Aryeetey that the policy will not solve problems of polytechnics.
Speaking at the 25th Anniversary celebration of NDK Financial Services in Accra, Professor Aryeetey said that, in principle, he is not opposed to the conversion but believes government cannot solve any problem simply by converting the polytechnics into universities.
“Do you solve the problem by re-designating them?” he asked, adding, “Everybody knows polytechnics are poorly equipped and if you have not provided those things and you change their names you have not solved anything.”
Drawing a distinction between universities and polytechnics, he said universities are there to generate ideas for the polytechnics to convert them into skills and not the other way round.
“When you turn polytechnics into university you are saying basically ‘spend more time doing research and generate ideas’, he said.
According to Prof Aryeetey, that is the last thing the country would want to do.
However, chairman of POTAG at Kumasi Polytechnic, Elijah Boadu Frimpong, says government’s initiative will boost academic progression at polytechnics in addition to their technical and vocational mandate.
He wants intellectuals and the public to rather rally behind the implementation of the conversion process.
"His comments is unfortunate because of the things he said bothered on maligning our ability to actually start this technical university. We do Bachelors of Technology top up at the polytechnics and the polytechnic has the ability to do courses up to the Bachelor's level.
Mr Frimoping said lifting the status of the polytechnics they can actually continue to do the work of training students in line with the technical or vocational system to the Masters and Doctorate level so they are relevant to industry and commerce.
In a related development, Ghana National Union of Polytechnic Students have released a statement on Tuesday questioning the hike in school fees. They say are asking if this is deliberately done to frustrate conversion efforts.
Read the statement below:
GOVERNMENT MUST INTERVENE, LEST WE DROP OUT.
The most common among topics currently being discussed by students of Ghana across the length and breadth of our country is the issue of the astronomical rise in school fees. The Polytechnic students, for instance, continue to ask questions as to whether the recent hike in fees is a deliberate policy to make students pay more to fund the recently introduced Technical University concept of President John Dramani Mahama.
Some authorities of the Polytechnics have declined opening negotiations with the SRCs on the school fees whilst others who allowed for negotiations took entrenched positions of not reducing amounts which have been proposed.
Our surprise is hinged not only on the astronomical increment in a number of items but also the introduction of unjustifiable components on the fee structure.
The government must intervene to avert the looming danger accompanied by this unpopular decision of management.
The number of students who would have to defer their course due to financial constraints and the denial of access to fresh entrants is the least to mention.
The current posture being exhibited by authorities of our tertiary institutions under the blanket of academic autonomy makes useless of government's interventions towards making tertiary education accessible.
Why is government staying aloof for its efforts to be thwarted by some authorities of our Tertiary institutions? Students are being told the falsehoods that their fees are rising due to government's refusal to pay subventions to the institutions and with this impression in the minds of our students, I am sure the President can guess right, to who the votes of Tertiary Students would go.
Government must swiftly intervene in this matter to once again demonstrate its preparedness to save education which is the only and last resort for our development.
*Elvis Osei Amponsah*
Public Relations Officer, Ghana National Union of Polytechnic Students
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