Our fathers of yesterday have always been the source of inspiration of our today. Going back to the first Republic, we observe that Dr Kwame Nkrumah`s vision led him to establish Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in the 50`s. 15 years later, this University was producing the human resource required for the operations of Valco, the Hydroelectric installations and similar industries. As I write, over 90% of the engineers of ECG and allied operations were trained in KNUST. This vision prevented the importation of engineers from Europe into several sectors of our economy.
The Genesis of our history indicate that during the early years of colonial metamorphism, the British set as priority, the training of pastors, lawyers, nurses and teachers. Anything engineering was done in Britain and the finished products sent back to Ghana. This policy fitted well into the concept of the colonial masters. It is therefore not surprising that the first University built by Dr Nkrumah and his Government was the University of Science and Technology (KNUST). Before this University was built, there were isolated numbers of Technical Schools, many of them built by Dr Kwame Nkrumah. Indeed it was during the time of former President J.J. Rawlings that the Technical Schools became the focus of future development. Policies were made that upgraded the Technical Schools into Polytechnics, mandated to compliment KNUST. 20-30 years later the growing numbers of industries have no problems with their human resource demands.
In the 2012 manifesto, the NDC promised to transform and upgrade all Polytechnics to Technical Universities. The clauses of the manifesto are indeed part of the vision of HE President John Dramani Mahama to National Development. This transformation and upgrading is so important and essential, should the human resource demands – in the engineering and scientific research sector – in the next 30-50 years be adequate to feed the increasing technical Industries. The rate of growth and expansion is so high, that we cannot depend on KNUST alone to fulfill the qualitative and quantitative mandate.
The so called “Dum so Dum so” which is now a source of humor in our society, is happening because somebody during the 1970`s failed to fulfill a long term vision. If Dr Nkrumah`s atomic energy plant ( of middle 60`s) had not been dismantled by Dr Busia, possibly the “Dun so Dum so” of today would not exist. We would have had enough atomic energy to compliment the growth rate. It is for this reason that I congratulate HE President John Mahama. In spite of our economic challenges, he is focused and seeks to fulfill his long term vision of making Ghana a prosperous Nation.
The Nation Ghana
Now Ghana is 58 years old (after independence). We are in or close to the Middle Income Group. Our statistics compare favorably with any other developing country. We are the best or with the best in many areas in Africa. The Webometric International University rankings show that University of Ghana is the Best University in West Africa and the eighth best in Africa. Legon and KNUST and Cape Coast have positions on the Webometric World rankings. If we should continue to do better, then Polytechnics should be upgraded to Technical Universities to produce the quality and quantity research engineers and scientists needed for the next fifty to seventy years.
Our Atomic Energy Installations are now assessing energy production for peaceful purposes. Nigeria has laboratories sending rockets to space, Ghana would sooner than later be planning for Space Research and rocket Science to support our tele communication. Soon GNPC`s oil exploration unit would be expanding at higher rates to take control over exploration in the next 50 – 70 years. In about 50 years we would be manufacturing cars, trains, possibly aircraft. All these Industries require adequate human resource supply which can be produced only by Technical Universities.
In this analysis, we focus on the relevance of Technical Universities in National Development, and seek to congratulate HE President John Mahama for his excellent vision in Leadership in spite of the economic challenges. It is worth noting that this is not the first time the leadership qualities of HE President Mahama have been projected. In December 2014, the United Nations General Secretary – Ban Ki Moon- applauded the Leadership qualities of President Mahama as a result of his excellent handling of the Ebola crises and the National turbulence in Burkina Faso. His colleagues, ECOWAS leaders, endorsed his good leadership qualities by extending his leadership mandate by one year.
Hei, let us wake up; we have made this mistake before. While other countries were praising Dr Nkrumah for his leadership, Ghanaians were slighting him because they had no sardines. Now Nkrumah is gone to the ancestors and has sent us Mahama another Social Democrat. Let us not make the same mistake looking through the blind side of our eye. Indeed there is no person in the opposition NPP that can replace Mahama; at least not for now. Let us support him and give him a second four year mandate.