IMANI policy analyst skeptical about ‘conversion’ of polytechnics to universities

Patrick Stevenson

A policy analyst at think tank, IMANI Center for Policy and Education, says moves to convert polytechnics to technical universities would be a waste of time if it’s not aimed at fixing key challenges at the tertiary level.

Patrick Stevenson said just a change of name does not guarantee that fundamental problems like lack of logistics and laboratories will be fixed.

Every Government policy, he said, must be aimed at fixing a certain fundamental problem, however, he struggles to see how the name change would solve the problems at the tertiary level.

“I don’t know the extent to which this conversion of polytechnics to universities necessarily fixes the problems that existed,” he said.

“I don’t suppose by any stretch of my imagination that any of these problems or challenges will significantly be removed or resolved by just a change of nomenclature, building up a few laboratories, or improving infrastructure,” he adds.

Patrick was speaking Wednesday evening on news analysis programme, PM Express, aired on the Joy News channel on the MultiTV.

Government has been parrying criticism that plans to convert 10 polytechnics into universities is merely a political exercise.

Deputy Education Minister, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa said months ago that technical experts have traveled to Germany to pick up information on best practices on how such universities were running in that country and its overall benefits to industry and economic growth.

The Ministry maintains it is “refocusing, evaluating and re-strategizing Polytechnic education” to build a strong industrial base for development with the conversion.

However, speaking on PM Express, Patrick Stevenson suggested that the name change should have been the last thing to consider.

“We have the Massachusetts institute of technology – it has remained an institute but its dominance in terms of training of human capital required globally” is enormous, he said.

The IMANI policy analyst says government would have to do more to prove that the exercise is not aimed at scoring
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