Dr Yaw Adutwum: Universities must produce critical thinkers for rapid societal growth

The Minister of Education said without critical thinkers sustainable path to development may  be a dream that will be difficult to achieve

Dr Yaw Osei Adutuwm, the Minister for Education has called on universities to train graduate who are critical thinkers with the capabilities of transforming societies more rapidly.

He said higher levels of education such as training colleges and universities have the greatest responsibility and called on them to investment in that area.

Speaking at the launch of the Takoradi Technical University’s strategic plan for the period 2021 to 2025, Dr Adutwum lauded the school for the voluntary decision to produce the plan to serve as a road map for their growth.

He said without critical thinkers from the country’s higher institutions, growth and development would continually swing adding, “Sustainable path to development may also be a dream that will be difficult to achieve”.

The strategic plan has four broad themes and 15 strategic objectives, which have been carefully crafted from the Sustainable Development Goals.

The broad themes are Institutional development; Applied Research, Innovation and Infrastructure Development; Social Development; and Environmental Development and would cost over GHC120 million to realise within the five year period.

The university has also established an endowment fund, disability support and services initiative fund and a new university website.

He also called for quality contents for training coupled with soft skills such as communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking to open graduates to better opportunities in the job market.

Dr Adutuwm said Ghana had the ability to change the fortunes of the country through education… “I see Ghanaian students are already to learn…let our professors do more research and help them with the right knowledge”.

He called on the planners to do more in the area of research, create a development office, expand the libraries and establish industrial hubs.

“After five years, let see some patents and commercialization of your findings,” he added.

Professor Henrietta Abane, the university council chairperson, said the strategic plan was relevant to help shape the fortunes of the university and make it the preferred Technical University.

Nana Kobina Nketsiah V, Omanhene of Essikado Traditional Area, said reviving the country’s education could only be done through conscious education and urged the TTU to “show the light” in that direction.

“We need the right mindset, policies and the resources to advance,” he added.

Traffic control system

Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, the Western Regional Minister, lauded the university for developing a new traffic control system for the Metropolis.

He pledged the Regional Coordinating Council’s support to the University to make it a torchbearer in STEM education.

Professor Frank John Eshun, the vice chancellor of the university, commended the strategic plan committee for putting together the document and the stakeholders who played critical roles during the consultation period.

“Our strategic plan highlights the important milestones of the University and what we need to do to position the University on the path of sustainable growth in this competitive and turbulent environment.”

The strategic plan would provide clear objectives and direction for Takoradi Technical University, Identify and focus on viable and realistic strategies and activities, promote optimum utilization of available resources and promote maximum realisation of stated goals and objectives, he said.

Ultimately, the plan would improve upon the image of Takoradi Technical University through aggressive promotional campaigns and corporate branding.

The vice chancellor said the vision was to transform Takoradi Technical University to become an innovative, world-class institution of higher learning, rooted in quality teaching, learning and applied research.

he said the university would make strategic use of ICT as an enabler to achieve operational efficiency and effectiveness.

He added that the university would mobilize resources to support significant growth in applied research and innovation, “We should be seen to be making a significant national and global contribution to research and development”.

Prof Eshun added that the human resource directorate would be equipped to spearhead professional development of the staff, ensure gender balance in the University, raise funds to support the needy and be a good corporate citizen… “human resource is one of the critical assets for meeting the objectives of our strategic plan.”

Globally, environmental sustainability is considered as one of the most topical issues which has occupied the attention of the environmental policymakers and indeed every individual on this planet in contemporary times, the vice chancellor added.

The university has, therefore, integrated the green concept and environmental sustainability into its programmes and research.

However, the capping on recruitment by the government and the effects of the COVID-19 were some anticipated setbacks in the implementation of the plan.

He said, “the future belongs to those who prioritize innovation and research and this will underpin our operations, going forward. We will also continue to evaluate the relevance of our strategies, priorities and performance by looking at what makes us competitive in the industry”.

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