Professor Joshua Yindenaba, Dean of the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS), has shown great initiative by asking academia not to wait for industry to act first, but must rather initiate the process of bridging the industry-academia divide.
A lot of businesses in the country have had cause to complain about the products being churned out of academic institutions, because many companies have had to retrain these school leavers at a cost to the entity – saying they are not employable material when they graduate.
This is probably because the practical aspect of the training was either insufficient or inappropriate, and hence the lack of hands-on experience. We believe the attachment or placement phase must be long enough for students to adapt easily to the world of work when they finally graduate.
Industry’s concern borders on the fact that the products are heavily skewed toward theoretical learning, leaving a practical gap in the overall training of the student. It is for this reason that there is now a renewed focus on technical universities, so that the professions can absorb products who are thoroughly groomed for the world of work.
The educational system has been skewed toward courses in the humanities rather than producing the sort of technocrats needed to run industry and many aspects of national life. However, since we are churning out mostly clerical officers and not the technocrats required for nation-building, our development has been lop-sided and not provided the desired results.
Since the UGBS mostly churns out captains of industry, it is necessary for them to appreciate every level of the production chain so that they can be effective leaders in their various fields of endeavour.
Therefore, the UGBS’s Dean is being practical when he says academia must not wait for industry to point out the gaps in training, but must rather engage industry with a view to equipping students with all the necessary tools.
He made the revealing statement at the opening of a library at the graduate school of UGBS funded by Tullow Oil last week, and we believe he could not have hit the nail on the head better.