National President of the Technical University Teachers Association of Ghana (TUTAG), Dr Solomon Abakah Keelson, has reiterated calls for government to prioritize technical education that is considered the solution to the country’s unemployment problem.
Dr. Keelson who has just assumed office together with five other national executives for the Association told Takoradi-based Connect FM the time for debate on technical education was over hence the need for action.
The new national executives will serve a two-year term.
“If government is going to take technical education serious and say technical education is what is going to provide the jobs, that is what is going to make people entrepreneurs, that is what will make people acquire the skills needed to be on their own so that the unemployment situation will be solved then technical education must be given the due attention” he said.
He said they would “want to grow technical education from its infant state,” and thus called for all the support to grow as against rather than things that will undermine it.
Dr. Keelson insisted it is important that like any other university, government gives technical universities the necessary freedom needed to run a higher institution.
“When we were even a polytechnic we had our individual statutes. We have become a university and we are going to have a harmonized statutes. That is interesting,” he stated.
He added “we may have things in common but we also have things that may differ from one school to the other. And so it is important that like any other university we are given the freedom needed to run a higher institution”.
Meanwhile the Association is set to have a series of meetings with the Ministry of Education and the National Council for Tertiary Education on their issues with the amendment of sections of the 2016 Act that establishes technical universities.
The amendment bill, currently before Parliament, seeks to grant powers to the National Council for Tertiary Education to perform functions which the lecturers argue, fall within the purview of the Governing Councils, the Academic Boards and the Principal Officers of Universities in Ghana.
The failure of Ministry of Education to address their concerns which have been lingering for months compelled the lecturers to strike on Wednesday, March 7 but they suspended the action on March 9 for two weeks.
It followed a meeting of the parties with the National Labour Commission at which it was resolved that the lecturers dialogue with NCTE on the matter.
The two weeks elapsed last Friday and there are indications three other unions at the various technical universities join the lecturers to resume the strike if negotiations do not go their way.
On his part Chairman of the Takoradi Chapter of TUTAG, Peter Awuni states the union stands by its demands on the Ministry of Education not to amend the Technical Universities Act, Act 922.
“We discussed the way forward and we still feel that it is important to adhere to the directives of the NLC. We will want to allow the process to run its course. We have indication that the NCTE and Education Ministry will soon invite us to a meeting to discuss the teething points. But if we are not satisfied we will advise ourselves”.
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