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The industrial sector of our economy has, on many occasions, complained bitterly about the products being churned out by the universities. According to players in the sector, graduates, in most of the cases, are unable to put into practice what they learnt in school.
This position is completely at variance with the performances of students from both our senior high schools and universities. Though secondary school education has been slashed from seven years to the current three years, most of the students are able to get exceptional grades that enable them to gain admission to the universities.
The big question then is what is accounting for this shortfall between academia and industry? The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors, Mr Senyo Hosi, attempted to answer this question, but the way he went about it drew public criticisms.
According to Hosi: “You guys (referring to the universities) are not thinking… You are churning out people with degrees not people with an education; not people with skills… Your students don’t have the thinking. They are robots. Even the robot, they can’t do it.”
He went further to make a proclamation that he would not hire most MBA graduates from the University of Ghana, because they lack the relevant skills.
This is obviously harsh criticism, but if we, as a country, had sat down and reflected on his comment, at least, one or two points would have been picked from it. Our polytechnics, which are now universities – were set up purposely to train the middle level the man power the country needs – but employers will tell you most of the students are failing to meet expectations.
It is important to note that a good foundation plays a crucial role in the educational ladder of every student. A student that fails to get a good foundation will have problems whilst climbing the ladder. It is in the light of this that The Chronicle is happy with the introduction of a new educational curriculum that focuses on problem solving than the current state of ‘chew and pour.’
We seem to be training our students to pass examinations without thinking of how they would perform on the job market earlier, students nowadays gets exceptional grades because of the ‘chew and pour’ policy, but find themselves wanting when they finally complete university and get down to the job market.
It is the hope of The Chronicle that the Ghana Education Service (GES) will not back down on the new curriculum, but vigorously pursue it in the larger interest of the state. Students of basic schools should become critical thinkers before they even enter the tertiary institutions.
This would make it easy for them to put into practical use what they have learnt in school.
This is the only way we can see the total development of this country of ours.