A deputy Minister of Education in charge of Basic and Secondary Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, has called on the university community to develop academic programmes that are tailored towards solving the myriad of challenges confronting the nation.

According to him, universities were for public good and that tertiary institutions must begin to realise that they owed their existence to the society, saying that “universities cannot be for public good if their programmes are not relevant to the needs of the nation.

“If universities in particular, are not creating programmes that solve the challenges in the country, how do we expect a total transformation of the nation for the ultimate benefit of the citizenry?” he quizzed.

He admonished universities against offering courses that, in their own estimation, the students after completion could not either be employed by the government or create their own jobs, indicating that if the students could not be employed or set up their own firms after studying such courses, they ought not to offer such courses.

GRASAG conference

Dr Adutwum, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bosomtwe Constituency, was speaking at the opening ceremony of the fourth International Multi-Disciplinary Conference for post graduate students which was organised by the Graduate Students Association of Ghana (GRASAG) of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW) last Wednesday.

The three-day conference is on the theme, ”Educating the 21st century graduate”.

Organise job fairs

He further charged the universities to organise regular job fairs to enable students to come into direct contact with industry players and companies who were their potential employers after completing their respective programmes.

“It is important for tertiary institutions to organise such fairs regularly to enable potential employers to come face to face with the graduates that they have for their mutual benefit,” he stressed.

Consequently, he said, if such platforms were not created, graduates became automatically unemployed and government was unfairly lambasted for not providing job opportunities for such graduates.

Ending double-track system

Touching on efforts by government towards ending the double track system in some SHSs, he noted that an amount of $500 million had been released for the construction of 800 classroom blocks and dormitories in some schools.

He pointed out that government was in the process of releasing another $500 million to all public universities to enable them to build new and complete ongoing projects to position them well to admit the first batch of the free SHS graduates.

Borrowed educational system

The Director of the Institute for Educational Research and Innovation Studies (IERIS) at the UEW, Professor Jophus Anamuah-Mensah, who was the guest speaker, said as a country, “we borrowed an educational system which is not responsive to the needs of the education sector.”

He explained that there was no attention on the pedagogic knowledge required of the teacher to excel in the classroom and that had contributed to the decline in academic performance, particularly at the basic level.

Prof. Anamuah-Mensah expressed optimism that the introduction of the new four-year bachelor’s degree in all the colleges of education would result in a total change in the training of teachers and further improve performance as well.

The UEW GRASAG President, Mr Godwin Kusi Danquah, in a remark, called on government to invest in research to identify more sustainable and demanding programmes and policies that could be implemented to enhance the fortunes of the country.

The Vice-Chancellor of UEW, Rev. Fr. Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni, who chaired the event, urged the media not to overly concentrate on reporting negative happenings in the university but rather focus on positive developments that would enhance the image and reputation of the UEW.