A former Deputy Minister of Education under the John Mahama administration, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has said the government’s move to make technical and vocational education training (TVET) free is only papering over the cracks in the sector.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, Mr. Ablakwa said this was “mere rhetoric” that will not address the main TVET challenges.
He was commenting on President Nana Akufo-Addo’s announcement that this initiative will be launched later in the in 2018 to help equip the youth with skills for the transformation of the Ghanaian economy. The initiative implies that, students within the various technical and vocational institutions will attend school free of charge.
Also speaking on Eyewitness News, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, a Deputy Education Minister, said over 200 TVET institutions are expected to benefit from this.
The TVET institutions would come under the umbrella of the yet-to-be-established Technical Vocational Education Service.
Initiative nothing new
Mr. Ablakwa remarked that this initiative was nothing new.
The 2018 budget indicated that TVET reforms will see the alignment of public TVET institutions under the Ministry of Education.
“The impression that we got from the President’s speech was as though there was going to be a special programme for TVET. It is exactly not the case. It is clear that some TVET institutions are benefiting as we were told… What is really going to happen now is a realignment of TVET institutions that are now going to be brought under the Ministry of Education,” he pointed out.
But the former deputy Minister said there were more pressing challenges confronting TVET having to do with infrastructure and patronage.
“The challenge confronting technical vocational education in our country is not an issue of affordability. It is about investing in the sector. TVET is very expensive. You need the tools. You need the equipment… they have not raised additional funds for TVET and that is really where we need to pay attention.”
He noted that monetary commitment from the Akufo-Addo administration’s first two budgets left a lot to be desired.
“The 2017 budget, the 2018 budget, the GETFund formula for 2018 did not address this. If we had not secured the $125 million, there would have been no funding for TVET… they are only relying on the $125 million we raised for the development of skills for Industry projects.”
“Secondly, how to re-brand… the challenge in our country is that the youth do not find TVET attractive so everybody wants to obtain grammar type education,” he added.
Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, the Deputy Education Minister, agreed with Mr. Ablakwa’s claim that some TVET institutions were already benefiting from the Free SHS.
According to him, about 47 schools in that sector are indeed covered under the Free SHS policy.