50 years of championing youth transformation
AN international business consultant, Mr. Sitso Kwame Asaase has said technical education should not be considered reserved for second class students. The sector, he said, had been the pivot of development to many countries and it was time Ghana paid much attention to it to speed up its developmental growth.
Mr. Asaase was speaking at the celebration of the golden jubilee of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) Technical Training Centre in Accra on Saturday, 22nd October, 2016 on the theme ‘Fifty years of championing youth transformation’. He said a number of countries including Germany, Dubai among others placed much emphasis on technical education, saying that had contributed immensely to their transformation. Mr. Asaase said the difference between developed and developed countries was the value and the approach they attached to vocational and technical education noting ‘if graduates can still contact wayside mechanics to have their vehicles repaired shows how viable technical education is to the society’. He deplored the spate of politicisation in the country saying it was a threat to both human and national development.
The National Chairman of YMCA, Mr. Reynolds Kissiedu said the economic competitiveness of a country depends on the skills of its workforce, saying the skills and competencies of the workforce, in turn, were dependent upon the quality of the country’s education and training system with one of the best systems being technical education. ‘Technical education is perceived as one of the best educational systems that equips an individual with the needed skills and technical know-how for accelerated social and economic growth and development’, he said.
The Technical Center, he said, was established in 1966 with the support from the EZE Protestant Agency for Development in Germany to help complement the effort of the government in the provision of basic technical training programmes to young people. Since its establishment, he said, the institute had responded to the problem of youth unemployment and its attendant social vices by providing skills training to boys and girls who passed through technical and vocational school systems.
The Vice Principal of the Center, Mr. Leonard Segbedzi said the center was established solely to train the needy or deprived youth in the society who had the ability to learn but lacked the financial support to further their education after completing their middle school education. Initially, he said, it was only carpentry, joinery and building construction that it offered but with the advent of technology, programmes such as electrical installation, and architecture draftsmanship vis-à-vis its upgrading which had added value to enrollment. The center, he said, undertook a number of developmental projects in the country such as the National lotteries, bricks fence wall, the Electricity Company of Ghana office at Ada Foah among others. He mentioned lack of training facilities for teachers, equipment and capacity training as some of the challenges confronting the center. The Executive Director of YMCA, Mr. Kwabena Nketia said as part of its mandate to assist in the development of the youth it saw its intervention in the area of technical education very much in sync with its vision of ‘empowering the youth in Ghana for the African renaissance’, which sought to make them become valuable and effective citizens.
He said thousands of youth have benefited from programmes offered at the centre to make them positive and responsible leaders and contribute their quota to the nation.
‘These trained youth are engaged in various job activities in our communities, country and the world at large’, saying it want Ghana where young people were able to create jobs for their own. The school prefect, Master George Campbell Arthur, was grateful for management, saying they believe education could make their lives better and empower young people and transform their lives and country.
‘It is for this reason that we must insists on quality technical education in our nation’.
He appealed to individuals and corporate bodies to come to the aid of the center to address some of the numerous challenges such as inadequate facilities, lack of working library and insufficient computers among others. An old student, Mr. Daniel Amaadi Agyare said the world required youth who were well equipped technically to bring meaningful transformation to their communities and the nation. The centre over the years, he said, served as platform to train and equip young people to bring meaningful transformation to their lives. He expressed concern about the stigmatisation of technical and vocational education in the country to be a place for school dropouts who cannot make positive impact to society. Present at the celebration were 40 partners of CVJM Westbund which partnered Ghana YMCA in developing the TTC. They made a donation of a number of hand tools for the use by the students of the Center.
By Francis Asamoah Tuffor