Government’s policy of converting polytechnics into technical universities will take-off in September 2016, to help reposition them as strategic institutions for the training of highly-skilled human resource to drive the nation’s socio-economic development.
Dr George Afeti, former Secretary General, Commonwealth Association of Polytechnics in Africa and former Rector, Ho Polytechnic, said government would soon place a bill on the conversion of polytechnics into technical universities before Parliament to give the legal backing for the take-off.
He said converted polytechnics are not to become “traditional” universities with similar mandates or duplicate the courses and programmes that the universities are offering.
Dr Afeti, who was the Chairman of the Committee that developed the roadmap for conversion of polytechnics to technical universities, was speaking to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Saturday on the sideline of the swearing-in of an 18 member new council and the induction of 180 new members into the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Ghana (formerly Institution of Incorporated Engineers).
He said the Committee recommended a gradual upgrading of existing polytechnics into technical universities based on criteria such as qualification level and practical industrial experience of lecturers and the collaboration of the polytechnic with industry and business.
Others are infrastructure, equipment and training facilities at each polytechnic.
He said the rationale and justifications for converting some of the polytechnics into technical universities is to achieve parity of esteem with the universities without departing from the practice-oriented philosophy of polytechnic education and training.
The former Rector said upgraded polytechnics would be required to remain focused on their core function of training technicians and technologists at a higher level to meet the exigencies of the rapidly changing, technology-driven work environment.
He said the technical universities are not to mimic the traditional universities or depart from their original mandate of training for the world of work; rather, they would provide training opportunities at all levels of skills development, in particular at higher levels.
Dr Afeti said the universities of technology in South Africa, and the universities of Applied Science in Germany, the Netherlands and Finland are good examples of such industry-focused higher education institutions.