In a four-point communiqué issued at the end of a three-day meeting in Kumasi, CORP said the refusal of the government to grant polytechnics financial clearance to replace staff who have retired, resigned or deceased, is adversely affecting the quality of teaching and learning on their campuses.
The communiqué, which was signed by Professor Nicholas Nicodemus Nana Nsowah-Nuamah, Rector of Kumasi Polytechnic and the President of CORP, said since 2013, the Polytechnics have tried unsuccessfully to secure financial clearance to replace staff.
The Rectors called on the government to reduce the cumbersome and frustrating processes involved in securing financial clearance, adding that, “unless appropriate measures are taken, the future of polytechnic education in the country will be greatly compromised.”
On the payment of utility bills by students in tertiary institutions, the communiqué referred to a release Mr Alex Kyeremeh , Deputy Minister of Education, on the May 7, which stated among other things that, “Government has not taken the decision for students in tertiary institutions to pay utility bills next academic year and that Cabinet has also issued a new directive that all educational and health institutions be exempted from the disconnection exercise currently on-going in some tertiary institutions in view of the critical services they provide the citizenry.”
The polytechnic heads therefore, urged the government to implement these decisions as the rampant disconnection of utilities is hampering effective teaching and learning as well as the socio-economic activities of the polytechnics.
The communiqué supported the decision to upgrade Polytechnics into Technical Universities but urged the government to stick to its timelines of conversion, which is September 2016.
“CORP believes the decision has come at a time that Ghana needs higher quality technical human resource in the areas of manufacturing, engineering and commerce. The Technical University status will fulfil this critical need for the overall growth of the country,” the statement noted.
The Rectors also bemoaned the low enrolment of students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in the Polytechnics.
It said: “CORP notices with worry the low enrolment of STEM by students in the Polytechnics,” and attributed the situation to low enrolment in these areas in second cycle institutions.
According to CORP, this fact is reflected in the annual statistics released by the West African Examinations Council and called for a national discourse on the issue so as to ensure that Ghana is globally competitive in STEM.