Singapore’s Senior Minister, Tharman Shanmugaratnam has made a strong case for the promotion of technical and vocational education especially in developing countries like Ghana.
He believes that making heavy investments in technical and vocational education will help train more young people with skills relevant to the job market.
Mr. Shanmugaratnam made the comment in a Citi News interview after engaging with Ghana’s Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta in Accra on potential areas of collaboration and learning between Ghana and Singapore.
He said education is important for every population however, key consideration should be given to the quality of the education and not the duration of it.
“Too many countries have made the mistake merely extending years of education without thinking hard enough about the content of the education and the actual skills the young people have when they finally leave school.”
“What is critical is to meet the needs of the market economy and for both developing and most advanced countries, for instance Singapore. What is critical is to have skills that is on demand in the market place and that means that technical and vocational education has to be a very significant component of education and the latter years of education, in the tertiary system,” he said.
Mr. Shanmugaratnam said given that most modern economies depend on various forms of skilled labour, technical and vocational education must take a central place in education in countries such as Ghana.
Ghana’s education sector has technical and vocational education in its mix, however, it is not given as much attention as academic education.
The Akufo-Addo government has promised to improve teaching and learning of technical and vocational education in the country by among other things building 20 modern Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions in the country.
Making reference to the success of countries like Singapore, President Akufo-Addo in 2018 at the 50th-anniversary celebration of the Ho Technical University said Ghana is determined to take a similar path to achieve economic success.
“This is the reason why my Government has placed importance on guaranteeing access to a minimum of senior high school education for all children, and has laid emphasis, in particular, on Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) as a major pillar for development,” he said.
Government’s strategy, he said, is to expand technical and vocational opportunities at both secondary and tertiary levels, and, thereby, strengthen the linkages between education and industry, as well as empower young people to deploy their skills, to employ themselves and others.