Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Design and Technology Institute (DTI), to engage students and enhance its competency-based learning.
The agreement will provide the University’s faculties with an accredited Precision Quality (PQ) program and will also integrate the PQ program into the KNUST learning outcomes.
Prof. Ellis Owusu-Dabo, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of KNUST, during the signing ceremony in Kumasi, said that although the University is performing well in some of the sustainability indicators, there are gaps in entrepreneurship, adding that it seemed like the students weren’t suited for the purpose.
“When it comes to testing students and weighing skills out of school, something is wrong.”
“As an institution, we are working closely with the Higher Education Commission to review the curriculum,” he revealed, adding that the move could provide students with important entrepreneurship education.
Professor Owusu-Dabo mentioned that the University has also set up the Student Placement and Career Development Centers to bridge the gap between certification and practical skills acquisition to ensure that students acquire the skills required before completing their studies.
He was convinced that the partnership with the DTI would enable the acquisition of additional skills.
The Pro-VC envisioned that such collaborations could have potential to facilitate after-school placement by considering the skills students would acquire during internships and field studies.
“It is a model of incubator and demonstration of quality, the partnership will be added to the similar modules existing at the University to be able to stem the tide of rising unemployment”, he observed.
He said the ramifications of a quality education should trickle down to the economy through the demonstration of the skills of the students they train.
Ms. Constance Elizabeth Swaniker, President and CEO of DTI, explaining the concepts of the PQ program, said that these were soft skills, which she said were more powerful than hard skills.
The curriculum includes the modules Change to Grow, Integration, People and Team Development, Occupational Health and Safety, and Quality and Customer Relationship Management.
She said the institution aims to bring industry to the doorstep of KNUST and all other relevant technical universities.
The rapid growth and changing trends in the industry, she noted, have called for an urgent need to bridge the gap between academia and industry, urging institutions to position themselves to embrace the new trends.
Ms Swaniker called on universities to ensure the smooth transition of young people into the world of work.
She said transitions to work should start in the first year and students should be exposed to the practical aspects until they finish in order to give them adequate experience.
According to Ms. Swaniker, the signing of the MoU was part of DTI’s collaborative strategy to work with stakeholders to “transform youth TVET livelihoods into sustainable jobs”.
It aims to enable some 30 million young people, especially women, to access dignified and fulfilling work opportunities by 2030.