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Universal Journal of Education and General Studies (ISSN: 2277-0984) Vol. 2(4) pp.

150-156, April, 2013 Available online Copyright 2013 Transnational Research Journals

Full Length Research Paper

The operating environment for second cycle construction training institutions in Ashanti region Ghana
Kissi Ernest1, Samuel Kwame Ansah2,Tengan Callistus3

Department of Building Technology, Kwame University of Science and Technology, Kumasi Department of Building Technology, Cape Coast Polytechnic, P.O Box AD 50, Cape Coast, Ghana 3 Department of Building Technology, Bolgatanga Polytechnic, Bolgatanga, Ghana
Accepted 12 April, 2013

The technical training institutions in Ghana have over the years contributed to the national development. These institutions however, face problems in the field of their operation in the environment. It appears that very little or no attention is being given to the growth of the operating environment of the technical training institutions thereby rendering trained students inefficient for the job market. The purpose of this research is to investigate the operating environment of the second cycle Technical training Institutions in Ashanti region by looking into these areas of concern; development of syllabus, funding, entry requirement and assessment. Questionnaires were distributed to fifty two (52) institutions in gathering the information, and out that of thirty-nine (39) was retrieved represent 75% of data collected. The data collected was analyzed using descriptive statistics. The results revealed that most of the training institutions have little knowledge in the above areas of concern and also theoretical aspect of training is much more than the practical in the aspect of syllabus and assessment. Again, it also came to the limelight that the grade of acceptance to various programs is those below average. In conclusion, technical education has become bedrock and catalyst to the growth of every developing nation. It is therefore, important that policy makers should consider the need to making technical education more accessible and innovative enough to attract the youth by creating avenues that seeks to engage prospective students after graduation. Keywords: Environment, Construction, Institution, Training INTRODUCTION Education remains the bedrock of all development, and quality education is the key to all scientific and technological advancement. It is imperative therefore that all issues on education are approached and handled professionally and scientifically if we are to make any meaningful progress. Technical Education plays a vital role in human resource development of the country by creating skilled manpower, enhancing industrial productivity and improving the quality of life. Technical Education remains the sole route for accelerating technological and economic growth of every developing nation such as Ghana. The establishment of technical schools and polytechnic institutions was expected to lead to increases in the middle-level technical manpower base of the country. Students in these institutions were also required to undertake intensive study of mathematics, science, technical drawing and English as foundation subjects for further learning. Following this, technical education was linked to labour market requirements, and outstanding students were encouraged to pursue their education to university level (McWilliams and Kwamena-Poh, 1975). Granted that, human resource is a basic resource operating the construction industry, the survival of the industry depends; to large extend, on its ability to develop this basic resource (Landford et al., 1995). It is against this background that this paper is to investigating into the

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operating environment of construction training institutions in Ashanti Region. However, this research deal with the development of syllabus in terms of it theoretical and practical aspect and entry requirements. LITERATURE Brief History Construction education is the supreme component of human resource development with infinite potential for supplementing greater value to products and services and for improving the quality of life of the people. It is often used interchangeable with technical education as regard skills or trade training. Construction education came to be, prior to the arrival of the Europeans, but was on informal education bases. Due to some neglect during the colonial and post-colonial era, it has now been realized that the growth of construction education would lead to the development and credit wealthiness of the country due it contributions to the gross domestic product (GDP). The need for introducing construction education into the school system in Ghana has been felt throughout the period since formal education was introduced in the 1800s. This education, the British Education Policy (1823), aimed at the children, among other things, cottage gardening at land craft skills especially at elementary schools. This policy operated by enrolled boys of thirteen years into schools for industry for a period of six years during which they would learn trade and other skills. Due to this, efforts were made in the direction of setting up construction training school (Maclean and Winni, 1829). The main reason for the establishment of this institution on the fact that school leavers lacked jobs and therefore recommended that they should be taught some construction based subjects. Upon the establishment of this institution, other private individuals were also allowed to establish various forms of such institutions which also offered training to the people, but later all these attempts failed because the country gave little attention and support. They wanted their children to acquire education that would let them pass examination set by British standard (Thompson, 1981). Another attempt on construction education was made from 1850 to 1990. A Wesleyan minister tried to introduce construction based courses like Masonry, Wood work and Construction Drawing. In 1850, he opened a technical boarding school where most of the courses were construction based subjects to train boys to become joiners, painters, masons and others. The Wesleyan mission also established in the 1880s a small industrial school at Cape Coast where training was given in

Carpentry, Building Construction and others but it could not stand (Daily Graphic, Feb. 21, 2007). The Basel mission went even further with their programmes for industrialization and was operating in inland areas where communities were mainly rural. They based their educational development upon industrial training (Daily Graphic, Feb. 21, 2007). They again trained artisans in Accra and Akwapim after seeing the importance in industrial training in 1886.Then in 1909, the first serious attempt was made to establish a form of construction training in Accra to take charge of workshop training. In 1992, two more training school were established in Kumasi and Cape Coast due to the growing need for artisans of a general education standard and this was a five year course (Annor, 1997). Between 1925 and 1942, there were three junior technical schools by 1932. The junior technical schools were organized with slightly construction bias programmes especially in Masonry, Carpentry and Metalwork. A governments technical school in Accra offered three (3) year training for standard seven (7) leavers in Engineering, Motor Mechanics, Building Construction and other subjects. In the same period, parttime courses in drawing design, building construction and so on were introduced (Graham, 1976). Purpose of Construction Technical Education in Ghana In Ghana, the purpose of construction technical education at non-degree level is to provide young men and women with skills training (in addition to general education) in order to enable them to fulfill the country's technical manpower needs, including self-employment up to the middle level in the field of the construction industry, (National Council for Technical Education,2005). Main Objective of Construction Technical Education in Ghana The broad purposes of technical construction education in Ghana can be broken down into nine (Baiden, 1996), these are; To expose pupils at the Basic Education level to a range of practical activities in technical field in order to make them familiar with, and stimulate their interest in, technical; subjects and so give them equal opportunity to choose their future careers in either the technical or general field; To equip students who have completed Basic Education with those occupational skills that will enable them to enter into gainful employment in industry and commerce; To equip students with the relevant productive and entrepreneurial skills that would prepare them for

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self-employment; To provide trained human resources in science, technology and commerce, matching supply of skilled labor with demand; To provide personnel with the technical knowledge and vocational skills necessary for industrial and commercial and economic development while at the same time paying attention to environmental issues; To give training and impart the necessary knowledge and skills to trained manpower leading to the provision of operatives, artisans, craftsmen, technicians, and other middle -level technical personnel; To enable the youth to have an intelligent understanding of the increasing complexity of science and technology through systematic exposure to modern technology; To encourage the increased participation of women in education, training, and employment in the technical field; To provide a sound foundation for further education for those students who may wish to continue their education later in the context of life long education. Construction Institutions Training In the Second Cycle

second cycle institutions after they have sat for the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE). Development of syllabus A syllabus is an outline and summary of topics to be covered in a course. It is often either set out by an exam board, or prepared by the professor who teaches the course, and is usually given to each student during the first class session. A syllabus usually contains specific information about the course, such as information on how, where and when to contact the lecturer and teaching assistants; an outline of what would be covered in the course; a schedule of test dates and the due dates for assignments; the grading policy for the course; specific classroom rules and others. Within many courses concluding in an exam, syllabi are used to ensure consistency between schools and that all teachers know what must be taught and what is not required. Examiners can only test students based on information included in the syllabus. However, in Ghana, syllabi structuring and developments are under the supervision of Ghana Education Service (GES) which is under the Ministry of Education. Factors involved in development of syllabus include: Political Economical Social Cultural Technological; and Globalization Assessment of Student Assessment is the systematic collection, review, and use of information about educational programs undertaken for the purpose of improving student learning and development (Palomba and Banta, 1999). Assessment is a formative and summative process that focuses on student learning. Assessment involves: Setting explicit student learning goals or outcomes for an academic program Evaluating the extent to which students are reaching those goals, and Using the information for program development and improvement. The purpose of assessment is to understand how educational programs are working and to determine whether they are contributing to student growth and development (Palomba and Banta, 1999). At the second cycle institution, assessment is considered an important tool that facilitates discussion about academic and student programs and provides useful information to guide continuous program improvement. Again second cycle institution assessment is either done by the

Construction training second cycle institutions is the next level of education system to the Junior Secondary School (first cycle). The primary concern of this secondary technical school is to train people to progress to the tertiary construction training institute whereas in the case of the vocational technical institutes, their concern is to tailor their product for the job market, although attention is also provided for those who want to progress to the tertiary construction training institutions (MOE, 2007). This Division by the Ministry of Education is responsible for improving the quality of education so as to achieve better performance at this level. The curriculum at this level has therefore been programmed to provide Ghanaian children access to quality secondary skills and attitudes which together form a sound basis for national socio economic development (MOE, 2007). The objective functions of the second cycle institution is to reinforce and build on the knowledge and skills acquired at the Junior High School level in order to develop productive individuals equipped with the qualities of responsible human resource and able to contribute to the development of their communities and the country as a whole. Entry Requirements These institutions admit students from the Junior High Schools that have qualified to enter into any of the

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teachers through the formative action and by summative either by the West Africa Examination Council or by National Technical and Vocation Council Examination. Funding The major financial sources of the education sector are the budget of the Ministry of Education (MOE), the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), the district assembly common fund, and contributions from Donor Organizations. The Education Strategic Plan (ESP) budget for 2004 amounts to about US$700 million, including budget of the Ministry of Education (about US$500 million), Get fund and district assembly common fund (about US$100Million) and Donor Organizations (US$90 million). From these funds, 48% is spent in Preschool, Primary schools (PS) and Junior Secondary Schools (JSS); 14% in Senior Secondary Schools (SSS); 4% in teachers education; 1% in TVET; 19% in tertiary education; and 11% in supporting management and educational subsidies. Budget allocations to TVET, teacher education, and management and educational subsidies are rather small. However, the educational reform of 2002 postulate cost sharing approach in training of citizen to the citizen in the field of technical and vocational education with the industries, which directly benefits from construction graduates. The cost sharing is to ensure an improvement in the quality and efficiency of training of graduates in modern technology machinery, equipment and material to fit into the world. METHOD RESEARCH

V = 0.05)

= Standard error of sampling distribution

P = The proportion of the population element that belongs to the defined class S2 = P (1-P) = 0.5(1-0.5) = 0.25

Sample size determination 1 1 n = n / (1+n /N) N= about 108 (Ghana Education Service) n1 = S2 /V2 = 0.25/052 = 100 n = 100/ (1+100/108) n = 51.92, approximately 52 Adequacy of Sample size The Random sampling technique was used in the administering of questionnaires to respondents. Thirtynine (39) out of the seventy-five (52) questionnaires were retrieved from respondents representing seventy-five percent (75%). The response rate of 75 percent obtained was considered sufficient for the study (Aibinu, et al. 2006, Donkor, 2011, Moser and Kalton, 1993). METHOD OF DATA ANALYSIS Data collected through the survey was analysed using largely descriptive statistics. DISCUSSION Emphasis on Practical Training

Research Approach This paper is based on a mixed methodological approach for data collection; quantitative and qualitative procedures. With the application of the quantitative data collection, a survey questionnaire was designed and administered to second cycle construction institution in Ashanti region with population size of 108. Again statistical method was used in establishing the sample size for the study. The Kish (1965) statistical formula as described below was used in establishing the sample size n = n1/ (1+n1/N) Where; n = Sample size, n1= S2 /V2 N = Population size S = Maximum standard deviation in the population element. (Total error = 0.1 at confidence level of 95%)

Figure 1 shows the views of respondents on the content of theoretical and practical aspect of the subject content, as indicated below the theoretical aspect is 83% percent while the practical which the main brain behind technical education is 17%. This clearly indicates that the purposes of the technical education as stated by Baiden, (1996) have been undermined since that time to present time. Again the recent education reform in 2002 has also call for practicality of subject in order to prepare young graduate for job market. Agencies involved in development of syllabus The purpose was to find which agencies are involved in the drafting of syllabus in Ghana and also for the construction training institution. The diagram below indicates the outcome of the results: Ministry of Education, 8%, Special committee 17% and these

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Figure 1. Aspect of subject content

Figure 2. Agencies involved in syllabus development

committees are set up by government with people who have knowledge about the education modeling systems, GES, Ministry of education and Special committee, 42% and Ministry of education and special committee 33%. This shows that the Ghana Education Service, Ministry of Education and special committees which are set up by government have the sole responsibility in the development of syllabus for construction training school at second cycle level. Assessment of students Student assessment was found to be done by both formative and summative means. It was necessary find out how regular these assessments are done in these second cycle institutions. Summative Figure 3 below indicate when assessment of student should be done summative. Majority of the respondents

indicated that assessment should be done every year (33%) and at the end of the term (33%), at the of the term with 16.7%, at the mid of the term 8.3%, 1-5 times in week with8.3% and every term with four persons representing 33.3%. Formative assessment Referring to table 4 and figure 4 below indicate when assessment of student should be done formative. Four person representing 33.3%with the view that 1-5times in week ,one person presenting 8.3% at the mid of the mid of the term, one person also indicate that weekly representing 8.3%,two person also indicating 1-5times in month,1-5 times in a week representing 16.7% and four persons also indicating weekly,1-5times in a month Grade for Admission Figure 5 indicate that majority of student admitted to construction training institutions normally fall within grade

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Figure 3. Summative assessment of students

Figure 4. Formative assessment of student

Figure 5. Cutoff grade for admission

16-24 representing 50%, followed by grade 25-30 (33.3%) and then grade 6-15 representing 16.7%.This however indicate that student at admitted to this

institution are within average or fall below, thereby reemphasis the general perception that student who are not able to get into other courses such as general science,

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business and general art due to their grade are admitted to technical institution. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS The study revealed that technical education in Ashanti region place little emphasis on practical programs however; it cannot be neglected since it is the backbone of every developing country. The practical content of subjects should be improved to deal with current industrial challenges, internship or industrial attachment should be part of the curriculum and must compulsory for all students. Again government as the main agent of education: should equip teachers with necessary skills (through continuing education or refresher courses) and tools (securing necessary funds through developmental partners). Again, it reveals that student admitted to construction technical education fall below average, which make training of such student difficult advance level , dues to entrance exams should be conducted for all prospective students before they are admitted in order to cure the canker of admitting unqualified students and subject to critical scrutiny by the Council for Technical and Vocation Education. Moreover, syllabus development are done through the Ghana Education Service and Special Committee, it is however, recommended that it should be human Centre and must deal with current technology development and global trend. However, assessment methods were of good of good standard and should be encourage by adopting (appropriate technological method) and reviewing precious once to meet current demand for the job market. Lastly, the operating environment in every construction technical education is much to be desired by all and sundry in other to ensure that developing nation like Ghana, which the technical education remain the incubator in achieving various developmental needs for the betterment of her society. It is imperative therefore that policy makers and government to gives more attention to technical education in a holist manner in order to achieve the purposes for their establishment and development agenda.
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Donkor Nana-Banyin E(2011). Factors Affecting Delayed Payments on donor Funded road Projects in Ghana, Department of Building Technology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. (Unpublished MSc. thesis). GOG, MOE Archives .2007 Ghana Education Service available at http// (Date assessed: 26th April, 2012) Ministry of Education Ghana .Curriculum Research and Development Division Ministry of Education, available at http://www.GoG/MoE/second, th (Date assessed: 13 March, 2012). Moser CA , Kalton G(1993). Survey Methods in Social nd Investigation, 2 Edition, Dortworth, Aldershot. National Council for Technical and Vocational Education (2005) Palomba CA, Banta TW (1999). Assessment Essentials: Planning, Implementing, and Improving Assessment in Higher Education. Jossey-Bass Publishers San Francisco. Reynolds R (2000). A Model for Researching Syllabus Development and Curriculum Change.