The 2016 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has slammed the piecemeal approach being adopted by the Mahama administration in the conversion of polytechnics into universities, explaining that this development has left some polytechnics at a huge disadvantage.
According to Nana Akufo-Addo, the current situation where the Cape Coast, Wa, Bolgatanga and Tamale polytechnics are yet to be converted into technical universities is not the way to go, adding that these institutions have been left destabilized by the move.
It will be recalled that earlier this year students and lecturers of the Cape Coast Polytechnic demonstrated over their exclusion from the list of six polytechnics to be transformed into technical universities in September, 2015. This resulted in the disruption of academic activities on the campuses of these polytechnics, notably in the Cape Coast polytechnic.
However, in the opinion of Nana Akufo-Addo, like so many things in the Mahama era, the implementation of this policy is fraught with a lot of dangers, stressing that this is not a fair approach to education in Ghana.
“We cannot do this policy piecemeal. Either you are doing it for everybody, or you are not doing it at all. We can’t have a situation where some are picked and some are left out of the process. It is not a good idea. Let us make sure that all the polytechnics in our country, in each of the regions, have the same infrastructure and the same level of development. Then we can make the transition for all of them. But pick some and leave some out, then you are disadvantaging and destabilising the ones that you have left out,” he said.
The NPP flagbearer was addressing students at the Cape Coast Polytechnic, on Friday, June 17, 2016, at the end of day 2 of his tour of the Central Region, when he made this known.
Stressing that with “everything that John Mahama does, there is no proper preparation and there is no proper follow through of the idea”, Nana Akufo-Addo assured the students of Cape Coast polytechnic that “when we get the chance (in 2017), we are going to make sure we do all together as one.”
He added that his administration is “going to make sure that the infrastructures of the polytechnics are fully developed, and that the collaboration between the polytechnics and industry is strong. That is what is going to make technical education the future of our country….. We are not in favour of the piecemeal approach to the conversion. We want all the polytechnics to be considered as one. That is the proper way to go ahead with this policy.”
With President Mahama’s penchant of copying his ideas, the latest being the “Free SHS” policy, Nana Akufo-Addo noted, in relation to the polytechnics, that “it is important that I speak out, because our President likes to copy ideas that I have. So let me put this out.”
His government, God-willing from 2017, he said, will concentrate its energies on building the industrial sector of Ghana, whilst, at the same time, enhancing the country’s agriculture. This twin-track, he indicated, will have students from the nation’s polytechnics playing a pivotal role in the process.
Additionally, an Akufo-Addo government will “give companies tax incentives, such as tax credits, so that we can encourage companies to employ fresh graduates, instead of having graduates sitting in the house for 4, 5 years and doing nothing.”
He reiterated his commitment to changing the circumstances of Ghana - a Ghana where there are no jobs for young people, a Ghana where are social services have broken down, a Ghana where our industry is in decline, where manufacturing is in decline, where our agriculture is in decline.
“We can put Ghana in a better place to where we are today,” he reassured.
Citing the example of Cote d’Ivoire, which until recently was engulfed in civil war, but has been transformed by a visionary President, resulting in the country today being the number one investment destination on the African continent, growing at 9% and with its agricultural exports earning $12 billion a year, Ghana, he noted is on the decline evident in growth rates of 3.9% and agricultural exports only earning $2billion.
“The time has come to change these statistics and bring prosperity. The transformation that we are offering is one that will need the active support of all of you. Let us all come together, let us put our energies together and get the change we want in this election year, and under Akufo-Addo’s government we can put Ghana on the road to progress and prosperity again,” he concluded.