Meeting NCTE and Nabptex standards by Polytechnics in Ghana: Exploring the realities

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The Polytechnics run two main programmes namely Engineering, Applied Science and Technology, and Applied Social Science and Arts. Most students enter Polytechnic Institutions with aggregates of between 21 and 29 of the West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE)/Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations (SSCE) results and the ACCESS course organised by NABPTEX for technical and vocational students. Students prefer university education to polytechnic and they would have entered the university if they had satisfied the requirement of university education. The enrolment of Business related programmes in the five selected polytechnics stand at 21790 with staff strength of 277. This puts the staff-student ratio at 1:79. For the Science/Technology programmes, the enrolment stands at 11386 while the staff strength stands at 171. The staff/student ratio is 1:67. The average of both ratios stands at 1:73. This far exceeds the national norm of 1:12 for sciences and 1:18 for business related programmes averaging at 1:15 for all courses in all the polytechnics in Ghana. Large class size adversely affects teacher delivery. Management of Polytechnic Institutions have divided large classes into 2 or more classes. This innovation improves the staff/student ratio to about 1:35. The ratio of enrolment of Science/Technology to Business related programmes far exceeds the accepted norm of 60:40. Out of the 1327 full time teaching staff, 43.86 percent have a second degree. The implication is that the remaining 51.14 percent are not qualified to handle HND (according to NCTE standards). In terms of ranks, 1.73 percent of teaching staff were principal and senior lecturers instead of the acceptable 20 percent. In the same vein, the percentage of senior instructors and instructors fell short of about 17 percent iii of the norm (i.e 12.81 percent instead of 30 percent). However, 82.5 percent were principal instructors and lecturers. This far exceeds the standard of 50 percent. Facilities (workshop tools and laboratory equipment, library books, projectors, internet facilities etc.) were not very adequate in all selected schools. Most workshop tools and laboratory equipment need replacement. Only one institution had its main library connected to the internet. Teaching staff use approved syllabus which is reviewed every ten years. Examination questions go through NABPTEX moderation and examinations are conducted under strict conditions. Industrial attachment plays a significant role in the training of polytechnic students; however students do not get the right institutions for attachment and so the relevance of it is not much felt. The output of polytechnic education in terms of the HND results is not encouraging. The research revealed a downward trend of the number of students with first and second upper class divisions and an upward trend of the number of students with second lower and third class divisions from 2007 – 2010.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of MASTER OF SCIENCE IN DEVELOPMENT POLICY AND PLANNING. 2012