President launches Technical Education Programme at Ada
He said technical and vocational training must be a first option for students instead of the last resort.
The President said this at the sod-cutting ceremony for the construction of infrastructure under the Development of Skills for Industry Project (DSIP) at Ada.
"The image that has persisted in the minds of Ghanaians that if somebody goes into technical and vocational training, it means they are not academically qualified to continue to the university must be killed," he stressed.
The DSIP is an initiative of the Government of Ghana with funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB), which is contributing $124.2 million.
The government is providing a counterpart funding of $15 million.
The project is to expand technical and vocational training in Ghana through the provision of modern infrastructure for 10 technical institutions, two polytechnics and one university.
The beneficiary institutions are Accra Polytechnic, Takoradi Polytechnic, Ada, Wa, Dakokpa, Kpando, Asuansi, Akwatia, Nkoranza, Bolgatanga, Krobea Asante and Amankwakrom technical institutes, as well as the College of Technology Education in Kumasi.
The beneficiary institutions will be provided with three-bedroom semi-detached teachers’ bungalows, 12-unit dormitory blocks, teachers’ accommodation, 12-unit two storey classroom blocks, modern lecture theatres, catering and fashion design workshops, ICT centres, as well as external works such as road and electricity.
A modern office complex for the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET) will also be constructed under the programme.
Middle level skills
President Mahama said the objective underlying the project was to enhance the quality of technical and vocational education with the view to providing the growing youth with middle level skills in order to prepare them for the world of work.
He disclosed that under the project, some achievements had been made already, including the award of bursaries to 1,550 students in various technical and vocational training institutions nationwide.
This, he said, was to make it possible for them to continue and complete their education.
In addition, 2,000 apprentices have been awarded with bursaries in the informal sector that allows them to be placed in industry and learn on the job.
Again, 25 PhD and Master’s scholarships have been awarded to faculty members and instructors in technical and vocational training institutions in order to upgrade their capacities to be able to teach students in these institutions, while 800 master crafts persons have been trained in the use of competency-based training methods to instruct.
President Mahama added that 10 technical institutes had been awarded a total of $1 million worth of grants to set up businesses and ventures in their respective areas of speciality.
The Minister of Education, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, said the project fell under the President's vision of rebranding and repositioning technical, vocational education and training to make more youth employable.
The Resident Representative of the AfDB in Ghana, Mrs Marie-Lauren Akin-Olugbade, said the bank was an ardent advocate and partner for skills improvement and job creation initiatives in Ghana and would continue to support and promote technical and vocational education as a viable career option for the youth of Africa.
She urged all stakeholders supporting the implementation of the project, particularly contractors, to be diligent and work hard to complete the works within budget and on time.