Dr Bless Dzakadzi, Director for Tertiary Education, Ministry of Education, has called for a dialogue to bridge the gap between academia and industry.
He said the economic situation across the continent should serve as an impetus to explore alternatives and potential solutions to adopt innovative entrepreneurship programmes to increase the employability of graduates.
Dr Dzakadzi said this in Accra at a graduation ceremony for a professional certificate of competence for operators within West and Central Africa on the theme, “Bridging the Gap Between Industry and Academia for Standardized Training and Job Creation.”
The graduating class, numbering 25, undertook six weeks of training in heavy-duty equipment organised by the Regional Maritime University and the National Association for Heavy-duty Equipment Operators Ghana.
The Director called for an unflinching preoccupation on the part of higher institutions to lead the drive of innovation and entrepreneurship to bridge the gap between academia and industry for sustained economic growth.
He called for an alignment of curriculum with industry to address various requirements and demands of the dynamic industry, saying “it is advisable that curriculum be revised regularly and developed in accordance with what industry needs.”
Dr Dzakadzi expressed concerns about the over reliance on classroom methodology and a theory-heavy approach and urged academia to review the existing pedagogies and make it more practical in approach.
“I believe it is possible for academics to regularly call guest speakers from different industries and allow students to interact with them to find out what is happening on the field.” Industry relevant online courses can be merged with the syllabus outlines to give students more insights about the industry.”
To bridge the gap between academia and industry, he said there was a need for workplace exposure through internships, live projects, and corporate interactions to provide students with the needed industry experience on the job.
He advised the class to apply the knowledge and skills acquired for sustainable development, adding that the economic transformation of the country depended on professional graduates with high-level practical and career-focused skills.
Dr. Jethro W. Brooks Jr., the Vice-Chancellor of Regional Maritime University, said the graduation ceremony was for the first batch of trainees under a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the University and NAHEOG to train operators of heavy-duty equipment.
He said the University had embarked on a massive engagement with the private sector for the provision of continuous development programmes for their employees to bring institutions closer to the industry for mutual benefits.
He stressed the need for standardized training and certification of operators within the sub-region to allow certified heavy-duty operators to seek job opportunities across borders.