Home / News/Announcement / Address By Dr. James Amoo Addy, Guest Speaker At The Official Launch Of The 10th Anniversary Of The Faculty Of Built And Natural Environment, Koforidua Technical University



The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Kofi Essumang
Deans and Directors
Heads of Department
Distinguished Guests and Dignitaries
Members of Staff
Members of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure and indeed quite an honour to have been invited as the Guest Speaker for the official launch of the 10th Anniversary of the Faculty of Built and Natural Environment (FBNE), Koforidua Technical University (KTU) on the theme, ‘Taking the Stigma off Technical Education – Changing the Mindset’. I will like to express my profound gratitude to the Dean, Heads of Department, and the Anniversary Committee for this invitation. Even though the invitation came at short notice, I was fascinated by the theme and decided to accept it because I believe the time is ripe to demystify certain notions and misconceptions about technical education in Ghana.

Prof Chair, let me begin with this philosophical question that I heard which I personalized. As an ophthalmologist, if I get a call to operate on an eye emergency at the hospital and I dash off to save the situation but in the process, my car develops a mechanical problem and a mechanic comes to fix it successfully and I managed to get to the hospital in time to save the situation, who should be thanked? Me or the mechanic?

Prof. Chair, I believe it cannot be overemphasized that technical education is one of the most effective tools for human resource development that needs to be embraced for the rapid industrialization and sustainable technological development of any nation. Technical education has been an integral part of national development in many advanced societies because of its impact on productivity and economic development. It contributes to development by equipping people with the requisite set of practical skills for job creation. I don’t think any of us will downplay the strategic contributions of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Standard University, and the University of California, among others to global growth and development.

Despite the critical role of technical education in economic growth and development, it has not received the necessary attention and support in Ghana over the years. This was partly due to the seeming disconnection in technical education from the regular education system from the Senior High School level through to the tertiary level of education in the past. The long period of such a disconnection created some delusions around technical education in Ghana as parents and students considered it as a lesser alternative to traditional universities.

Prof. Chair, I am happy to note that the resilience and survival of technical education in Ghana against all these adversaries give credence to the fact that technical education will forever be with us. I must say that technical institutions have been successful in maintaining their iconic identities as high-level, vocationally-inclined, employment-oriented skills training establishments. They have failed to succumb to the mission drift and pressures towards educational isomorphism in terms of focus and structure in Ghana. At this juncture, I will like to express my profound gratitude to the leadership of TUTAG for holding the fort to preserve the unique identity of technical education in Ghana.

However, Prof. Chair, Ladies and Gentlemen, I don’t want us to pat ourselves yet as the battle to sensitize, destigmatize, and demystify the system about the critical role of technical education in Ghana has just begun. I also don’t think it is a mere coincidence that this speech is being delivered here at KTU. If my data is right, KTU is the number one technical university in Ghana and number six among all universities in Ghana. We, therefore, have to take a leading role in this quest to help offset the minds and perceptions of policymakers, research partners and collaborators, parents, students, and the general populace in technical education.

I will first call on the leadership of technical institutions to foster both vertical and horizontal partnerships and collaborations to boost research and innovations in technical universities. This will help to cement your place as the fulcrum of inventions and innovations in the educational system of Ghana. There are several research grants and innovation funding opportunities that technical universities could tap into to reduce the financial stress of conducting high-end research and innovation development. I, therefore, urge the leadership of technical universities, especially their research offices to make such information available to staff and support them to constitute research teams or cells to tap into this global research and innovation funds. Further, the leadership of technical universities should build strong partnerships with the industry and position the institutions as the problem-solving hub for industries. This will help to elucidate the important role technical institutions play not only in Ghana but in the world as a whole.

It is envisaged that when more innovations and problem-solving ideas are churned out from the technical universities, policymakers, industry players, and the citizenry will have no other option than to support its development course. At this point, I will want to say that I am aware that technical institutions have several inventions and innovative products sitting on the shelves. I will appeal to the leadership of the institutions to create technological fairs in close collaboration with the industry to showcase their inventions to the world. Such fairs should also be hosted live on the internet for the world to see. The target should not be for only local investors but for international investors as well. Some of these fairs help to increase the visibility of the institutions and form a basis for international grants and research funding support.

Second, Prof. Chair, Ladies and Gentlemen, I will urge members of staff to redouble their efforts in research and innovation. This is the 21st century. Your relevance as an academic institution is to be visible in research grants management and citations. We have to adapt to these new dictates of our profession and uplift the image of technical universities. We cannot envisage picking the number one spot in the educational system when we are not visible on academic and intellectual platforms. I believe we have to understand that traditional universities are not and should never be our yardstick. We have the potential to surpass any hurdle and be the giants we want to be. But everything is dependent on us. We are the makers and unmakers of our vision. Let’s all come on board to drive this vision forward. There will be challenges in the course of this movement but we should all commit to the process and accept new changes and reforms developed by leadership.

Third, Ladies and Gentlemen, I will like to tell the general public that we will be missing the clear opportunity to conquer the world in the 21st century if we continue to position technical education as secondary to other forms of education. We shouldn’t repeat the mistake of the 20th century by neglecting technical education. The neglect of technical education has caused us over half a century of underdevelopment. It is now evident that the missing link between our underdevelopment now and our quest to conquer the 21st century as Africans is placing much credence on technical education. Let’s encourage ourselves, our wards, relatives, friends, and even our enemies to opt for technical education to grow the continent together.

To students, I will say you are today on the right side of history. You made a good choice. Continue to encourage your folks to choose technical education. Share your rich experiences with your friends, and family members to advance a common course of taking a central stage in development in the 21st century.

Prof. Chair, ladies and gentlemen, I will conclude by saying I have a dream that Koforidua Technical University will grow to utilize the new Regional Hospital as a teaching hospital. We have to be bold to introduce strategic programs in medicine, agriculture, petrochemicals, and mining, among others.

May I seize this opportunity to invite investors, and donors, to partner with technical institutions such as Koforidua Technical University to open laboratories, incubators, and research centres for the refining of essential resources as well as training of suitable individuals on how to nurture our local content and materials for development?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I congratulate the Faculty of Built and Natural Environment, KTU on the LAUNCH of the 10th Anniversary and urge you all to support the programs and activities of the Faculty and support them in every little way you can.

Thank you all!!!