The Ghanaian Provincial Superior of the Brothers F.I.C. (Rev. Bro. Seregeous Dery), today launched the golden jubilee celebration of the St. John’s Technical Institute in Nandom. According to him, a jubilee year is a holy year reserved for the Lord (Leviticus 25:8 – 45). It is a year of sabbatical and reflection, a year of restoration among others. The religious leader noted with excitement the seemly gradual change of the stereotyping which created the wrong impression in the past about who an educated person was. The definition of an educated person means only those taught to read, write and speak good grammar. Technical/vocational education and training (TVET) was not an option. In fact, “TVET was erroneously considered a sanctuary for the academically weak”. Went further to challenge all and sundry to ponder over how one perceived to be academic, could proceed to succeed in a TVET study program that requires the learner as a prerequisite to possess technological acumen, perform scientific calculations, and do mathematics and drawings among others. These perceived academically weak are the ones we find every day at our construction sites translating architectural drawings into buildings, providing electricity, servicing/fixing defective machines and the list is endless.
He suggested that for the country to realize the desired benefits of TVET, Government should make the TVET program of study a deliberate choice by the student and that such students have the need for passion, cognitive capability, and above all, the intrinsic aptitude for the said TVET program they desire to pursue. In addition, recommended that as a country, we must return to the Competency-Based Training module which places emphasis on both the theoretical knowledge and acquisition of the needed practical skills through the regular exposure of the learner to workshop practices and individual hands-on experience throughout the entire period of training. He appealed to Government to continue to work at reducing blotted class sizes. He bemoaned the limited available infrastructure and training equipment as the school is still struggling to cope with facilities intended for 390 students are now being overstretched to cater to the current 767 students
Delivering the keynote address on behalf of the Nandom Member of Parliament who is also the interior minister, the MCE of Nandom (Hon. Raymond Nero), commended the school’s management and all stakeholders for producing quality technical professionals from the institution who are rubbing shoulders with others in the technical ecosphere globally. He paid glowing tributes to the Catholic Church and the founding fathers of the school and encourage students to ignore the stereotype and misconceptions out there about technical and vocational education in our part of the world. You should instead “take your studies seriously to benefit from the numerous opportunities presented by the TVET program”.
According to him, Government believes that the Technical and Vocational Education and Training sector is key to the country’s industrialization agenda and therefore, the need to equip particularly young people with the needed practical skills cannot be over-emphasized.
Thus, the theme for the celebration ‘St. John Technical Institute, 50 years of training for industry and self-employment; the path to national development could not have been any more appropriate. The One District, One Factory initiative by the Akufo Addo’s government is one of the many interventions intended to create room for the employment of graduates from the TVET institutions and further hone their skills. Ghana needs a skilled and competent technical workforce to fill the skill gaps in the various sectors of the economy. The Commission for TVET has been mandated by the Education Regulatory Bodies Act, 2020 (ACT 1023) to develop a national report on skills development in the country which will provide the spine for the development of programs and policy formulation. Ghana’s TVET sector and the system cuts across all sectors and this places a significant responsibility on the Commission for TVET to be accountable and responsive to the demands of this sector – he noted
The MCE further noted that the government has demonstrated its commitment to education in the upper west region through the provision of the needed infrastructure and equipment to enable the senior high schools and TVET institutions to absorb more students and also perform their activities effectively and efficiently. Within the period 2020 and 2022, the government has provided a total of twenty-nine (29) vehicles to twenty-five (25) Senior High Schools (SHS) in the Upper West Region. These vehicles comprise twelve (12) pickups and seventeen (17) buses. He added that Government intends to upgrade the existing TVET centers to provide young people with the skills that will make them employable, enhance their livelihoods, and create wealth. This would also make TVET graduates competitive globally. The establishment and upgrade of the TVET centers will contribute significantly to Sustainable Development Goal four (4) which is focused on education with an emphasis on skills development.
The colorful occasion was marked by a beautiful cultural display by the students across the entire upper west region. The school cadet was at their best in the display.
St. John’s Technical Institute started as a Vocational School in Nandom in the year 1973 as the brainchild of Br. John Van Winden (F. I. C) after he arrived from the Netherlands in 1968 to build the Nandom Secondary School. At that time there was a lack of qualified craftsmen in the Nandom area and indeed, the entire upper west region to rely on. After completing the construction work on the Nandom Secondary school in 1972, he set out to establish what he called at the time the Nandom Practical Vocational Centre (NPVC) in 1973. The name was later changed to Nandom Vocational School (NVS) and now St. John technical institute.
The trade “Rural Building”, a combination of masonry and carpentry work was started with the initial intake of fifteen (15) trainees. The trade “Rural Mechanics” consisting of diesel engines; Black smithery and hand pump maintenance was also introduced in 1980 with an intake of twelve (12) trainees. German Volunteers supported the center in the fields of building construction; mechanics and Black smithery among others. The training took four years to qualify a successful trainee to obtain the National Craftsmanship Certificate. The center gained a wider recognition in the pace of time as a result of its outstanding performance in terms of practical-oriented training and quality craft men produced. Owing to this, the center received government approval on the 27th of January 1986 to operate under the National Vocational Training Institute (NVTI). The school was later absorbed into the Ghana Education Service system in September 2010. This new development increased the enrollment figures exponentially. Additionally, the Free TVET service program rolled out by the government further increased the enrollment figures of the school
Julius ST Baayel