The Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG) has slammed the Vice Chancellor of University of Ghana over comments that conversion of polytechnics into universities was an exercise in futility.
General Secretary of POTAG, David Worwui Brown, says government identified the challenge of polytechnics students in terms of job placement and decided one of the best ways out of the rut was to convert polytechnics into universities.
Government’s conversion of some polytechnics into full fledge university did not sit well with Professor Ernest Aryeetey, who said the concept was not well interrogated.
Speaking at the 25th Anniversary celebration of NDK Financial Services in Accra, Prof Aryeetey said in principle, he is not opposed to the conversion but believes government cannot solve any problem simply by converting the polytechnics into universities.
“Do you solve the problem by re-designating them?” he asked, adding, “Everybody knows polytechnics are poorly equipped and if you have not provided those things and you change their names you have not solved anything.”
Drawing a distinction between universities and polytechnics, he said universities are there to generate ideas for the polytechnics to convert them into skills and not the other way round.
“When you turn polytechnics into university you are saying basically ‘spend more time doing research and generate ideas’, he said.
According to Prof Aryeetey, that is the last thing the country would want to do.
He said this way of addressing issues in the country has left the society in a more precarious situation than it was.
But POTAG has disagreed with the position of the Vice Chancellor saying the conversion was necessary.
Mr Brown says contrary to claims the polytechnics did not lobby government for the conversion to be done.
“It was done because of the challenges of polytechnic students which are getting worse by the day,” he said.
Even though he agreed the conversion of the polytechnics will require more resources, he believes things will get better with time.