The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) is encouraging a private-public partnership in the educational sector to bring out emerging educational reforms tailored toward technical and vocational skills development in the country.
“With the commitment of a public-private partnership, we will see a new emerging educational landscape. Reforms that are tailored toward technical and vocational skills development will bring this landscape to reality.
“AGI calls on government and development partners to invest more in technical and vocational training (TVET) to help address the manpower needs of industry,” Mr. Asare Adjei, president of the association, said this at the TVET Role Model Programme launch by COTVET — designed to heighten awareness particularly among female student about TVET.
He said despite the unemployment challenges facing the country, he is optimistic of that technical and vocational graduates who enter the job market will remain highly employable.
Despite the opportunities in TVET, statistics indicate that there is a general lack of interest in technical and vocational subjects and TVET education in general.
It is estimated that only 2.3 percent of the 2014 Junior High School graduates chose technical and vocational training institutes, with the remaining pursuing secondary education.
A number of factors account for the low interest in TVET, including ignorance of the options available in TVET and low prestige enjoyed by the sector.
Traditionally, females have also tended to avoid the more technical courses. Available data show that female enrolment in TVET institutions is very low — accounting for a maximum of 29 percent in NVTI centres, 17 percent in teacher-training institutions, and 30 percent in polytechnics.
Meanwhile, the education policy in the country guarantees that 60 percent of students should be in sciences and engineering programmes while 40 percent pursue arts and humanity courses, but the reverse is the case.
“We recognise that students have different talents and interests — some are academically inclined, while others excel in skills-based work. To prepare our school-leavers to seize these opportunities, there is need for a major paradigm-shift,” Mr. Adjei said.
“Therefore, an educational system that offers diverse pathways for students to learn and develop their unique skills is a preferred option. This is why AGI has always advocated for more investment in the vocational and technical training.
He said AGI believes technical and vocational education and training constitutes a critical pillar of the educational system, saying it gives the graduates a solid foundation for lifelong learning while leveraging the job opportunities in industry.
He said technical and vocational training provides increased employment opportunities, particularly in the present dispensation when industry demands highly-skilled labour.
“We ought to persevere despite the challenges; to focus, not to falter until every young person has the chance to develop his-her God-given abilities and skills in the job market while enjoying a world-class technical training system,” he said.
The Minister of Education Prof. Naana Opoku Agyeman said, over the years, enrolment in TVET subjects has been gender-biased.
She said while trades and courses like catering and dressmaking are dominated by females, those such as the electronic, electrical, building and construction areas are dominated by males.
“This is a result of poor perceptions about TVET and lack of career guidance and counseling. The implementation of the Development of Skills for Industry Project under the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET), with a focus on increasing female participation and enrolment in TVET through concept such as Role Model Programme could not have come at a more opportune time.”
Prof. Opoku Agyeman said, through this programme, government will reinforce the importance of technical and vocational education and training.