The Dean of the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS) Professor Justice Nyigmah Bawole, says it is important to give students a theory-based education as it makes them more adaptable in the workspace.

According to him, theory-based education enables students to “develop critical thinking skills that allow them to be able to apply what they have learnt into new emerging circumstances.”

He made this statement in response to criticisms from industry players who say Ghana’s theory-based education set students up for failure in the workplace.

Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, the Business Edition, Prof Bawole used the analogy of a dumb phone to explain why theory-based education was important to the ever-changing workspace.

He said: “If we had trained you on how to use ‘yam phone’ and that’s all you can operate, but we didn’t give you the capacity to manipulate or to deal with any phone that comes up, it means that every now and then you’ll have to come back to school to learn how to operate the next phone.

“But what universities do is to give you this adaptability that ensures that when you go out and circumstances change you’re able to change to fit those circumstances, and not just that, that you can drive the purpose of change so that the change is not a change that you are forced to conform to, but it is a change that you are actually driving.”

He added that to even make theory-based education more resounding and grounding for students in order to produce job market worthy individuals, the University has been encouraging students to take up internship programmes in the industry to apply what they have learnt and learn new skills whilst at it.

“But we also try to give our students a feel of how it is like in the practical world. So as a business school, I do not have a business as a laboratory, what I have is industry in town, so your business will be for my students who are doing marketing communications, Multimedia will be a laboratory where the students can come in there and begin to experiment and play with the things they have learnt,” he told JoyNews’ George Wiafe, Thursday.

However, Prof Bawole intimated that there are not many companies ready to take on students as interns. He, therefore, called on industry players to avail their workplaces to students for them to learn and be shaped in the manner most suitable for the market.

“Now if that will be possible, then we would need industry to come along with us, and that is why I have told colleagues that I have had conversations with that it is okay to give us the feedback, but go the step further and open up and allow us to be able to send you our students and for to begin to mould their thinking even before they leave the school.

“And we do that together, when we do that together, you will get the students who will go out there – and last semester I got wonderful feedback from our students who had gone into industry to do a month’s internship, two months internship and they came back, and you should see their experience, you should listen to them, and some of them even the way of dressing actually changed.

“Now what we want industry to support us to do are things like that,” he said.