President Akuffo-Addo in a speech and prize-giving day at Mafe-Kumase in the Volta Region stated that technical education is crucial for socio-economic development. This is one fact that cannot be glossed over or swept under the carpet. It is through the development of sound technical and vocational educational skills that the country’s abundant resources can be fully harnessed and utilised for the country's advancement. Education is meant to broaden the horizon of people and sharpen their skills for socio-economic and political development. However, it is clear from observation that the general thinking is skewed towards the generality of grammar education bequeathed to us by the colonial masters several years ago.
It is unfortunate that we are unable to fix problems relating to technical requirements in our industries, a problem that comes about as a result of inadequate facilities for practical work in technical and vocational institutions. There is, therefore, the need to support practical work to wholly develop the employable skills of every school child in the country.
In the words of President Akuffo-Addo, “We need skilled people to modernise our country, and every child has a talent they must bring out for that purpose.” This statement is very important because our natural talents are not only found in the grammar type of education but also in the technical and vocational areas of life which offer more employment opportunities.
A related issue here is the view of many experts that our educational system tends to place less emphasis on the development of technical and vocational skills. Such neglect is what principally accounts for the high rate of unemployment in various sectors of the economy. Technical skills should be developed in every field so as to be able to encourage self-employment and entrepreneurship initiatives.
Without the development of technical and vocational skills, we may end up promoting the import business in the country, a situation that is not healthy for self-dependence and economic development. In the light of this, the country needs to encourage practical work in technical and vocational education. This explains why President Akufo-Addo pledged to provide a workshop complex for the Mafe-Kumase Senior High Technical School to transform the institution.
Technical and vocational training must be given the needed proportion of emphasis alongside general education training. This will ensure that the blend of all skills are utilised to the maximum for rapid economic development in line with the national aspirations. Indeed, employers in Ghana admit that looking for people with technical skills for industry is very difficult because certain specific technical skills are non-existent.
Let us give technical and vocational skills of various dimensions the needed support for a more, productive glorious future for the country.
By Kofi Amponsah-Bediako, Head of Public Relations, Ghana Standards Authority.