The President of the Chartered Institute of Bankers – Ghana, Reverend Mrs Patricia Sappor, has called for deliberate partnership between universities and industry to enrich the school curriculum and narrow the widening gap between industry and academia.

“There is a wide gap between industry and academia and the gap can be bridged if professional insight, knowledge, and industry experience can complement the knowledge obtained from the universities,” she said.

“It is imperative that tertiary institutions as well take the initiative to partner with these professional bodies to enrich their curriculum,” she added.

Rev. Sappor was speaking at the 17th congregation of the Ghana Technology University College in Accra.

It was on the theme: “The role of Professional Associations in University curriculum Development.”

She said the country’s universities could collaborate in the drive to complement each other to benefit students and improve the level of education.

Having a blend of academic and professional courses puts students in better positions to find jobs upon graduation, according to researchers.

But Rev Sappor noted Ghana’s current curriculum provides greater opportunities for incorporating theory and practice and thus reduces the time spent to complete professional examinations.

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The infusion of professional knowledge into academic programmes, she observed would promote networking amongst professionals and academic practitioners.

Fresh graduates from Ghana’s tertiary institutions need mentorship to understand the dynamics of the working environment in order to effectively undertake their roles and responsibilities.

One of the key responsibilities of professional associations is to inspire fresh graduates and guide them through one on one mentoring relationship to fit into the workplace environment.

Proper mentoring has the potential of adequately preparing young graduates for the challenges of the world.

However, graduate unemployment is a topical issue in Ghana which various governments have been trying to resolve over the years.

The unemployment rate in the country was 11.9 per cent in 2015 according to Ghana Labour Force Survey Report by the Ghana Statistical Service.

This is about twice the recorded in 2012\2013 of 5.8 per cent.

Rev Sappor noted again that the challenge of graduate unemployment was quite glaring that industry could complement government efforts to resolve the threat.

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“We cannot leave the resolution of this issue to government alone,” she said, “We all have an important role to play.”

“I believe we can start right here; starting first of all with an appropriate curriculum design.”

She advocated entrepreneurship and innovation based curriculum and said it could better equip Ghanaian students with business ideas tied in the classroom and ready for full execution by the time they graduate.

“Such an approach will not only breed entrepreneurship but will also imbibe in students the practical knowledge and skills necessary to set up their own businesses and to contribute to job creation and the expansion of the economy,” she said.

“Our students should be able to harness their innovative skills, understanding modalities for setting business, and how to develop business plans and proposals for funding purposes.”

She also called for the establishment of innovation centres on campuses to support students in the early stages of conceptualisation of their ideas through to commercialisation.

“We should allow successful entrepreneurs to share their success stories with students to inspire to attain greater height.”

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There has been several calls for Ghanaian universities to stimulate entrepreneurial mind-set of young graduates and encourage innovative business start-ups into faster culture but over the years not much have been done.

Professor Dr Osei Darkwa, President of GTUC, said the topic was chosen to focus on the support and partnership that professional associations could provide to augment the university’s curriculum development.

He said the College overriding focus was production of graduates who add value to their prospective employers and communities.

The University College has established active collaboration with notable professional institutions like the Chartered Institute of Taxations and Chartered Institute of Bankers.

Through the initiatives, he said, “we intend to integrate our Business School and have students benefit from the practical training that professional institutions have to offer”.

The total number of graduands was 131 out of which 120 graduates pursued a one-year post-graduate programme with Coventry University, eight from CASS Europe and three from Staffordshire University.

Source: GNA/Newsghana.com.gh