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Professor Emmanuel Kojo Sakyi, Rector of Ho Polytechnic has observed that Polytechnic students need “soft skills” to be effective field workers.
“Knowledge on how to operate machines alone is not enough, our students need language and communication skills to understand manuals and interact with clients,” he stated.
Prof Sakyi made the observation at the launch of an educational exchange programme in Ho, between the Ho Polytechnic and Yamoussoukro Polytechnic in Cote d’Ivoire.
He said language could not be sacrificed for knowledge in vocational and technical training and called for the establishment of departments for the promotion of modern languages in Polytechnics.
Prof Sakyi said the departments could focus on French and Chinese to equip students to be able to read manuals and reduce guess work or “try and error”.
He said Engineers from Ho Polytechnic could easily fix and operate machines from China because the academic entity has a Chinese Language Centre, arming” students with some working knowledge in Chinese”.
Prof Sakyi underscored the importance of the exchange programme and said it would foster stronger relationship between the two institutions.
He said the cooperation is expected to lead to the development of joint research programmes towards addressing common challenges in the area of technical and vocational training in the sub-region.
Dr Natalia Siaka, Leader of the team from Yamoussoukro said a similar programme with Sunyani Polytechnic is yielding positive results with students from Cote d’Ivoire doing internships with establishments in Ghana.
The 35-member Yamoussoukro team would have academic sessions and visit some tourist sites in the Volta Region before leaving the country in two weeks.
Nine polytechnics in Ghana in 2014 signed a memorandum of understanding with the Yamoussoukro Polytechnic for exchange programmes.