Nine faculty members from five Technical Universities in the country have been certified as Hospitality Educators by the American Hotel and Lodging Education Institute (AHLEI).
This follows their completion of a 14-day Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE) workshop at the institute which equips hospitality professionals with new approaches and skills to improve student learning and performance.
The faculty members include Dr Thomas Yeboah and Comfort Gyeduah, the Sunyani Technical University; Irene Tah and Dr Eudora Hagan, Takoradi Technical University.
The rest are Ruth Boateng and Vida Commey from Kumasi Technical University, Mary Oseku-Afful and Vida Doku from Accra Technical University and Faustina Otsyina from Koforidua Technical University.
Facilitated by the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) in February 2018, the capacity building workshop is one of the outcomes of a partnership between UMES and a consortium of 10 technical universities in Ghana.
The parties signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in September 2017 to develop a framework for collaborative activities including research and capacity building for mutual benefits.
The proposed UMES-Technical Universities Consortium project, amongst other things, aims to address the shortage of human capital and management capacity in the hospitality and tourism industry through robust training.
At a ceremony in Accra, where the nine CHEs were decorated with their certificates, the Deputy Minister of Education in charge of Technical education lauded the partnership.
She said an effective Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system would help harness the country’s tourism and hospitality potentials for socio-economic development.
She said the government, acknowledging this, was working to revamp all technical and vocational institutes to train more skilled professionals for the tourism and hospitality industries.
Mrs Catherine Afeku, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, said in 2017, the tourism sector contributed $2.75 billion to the national economy and generated 487,000 direct and indirect jobs.
As part of the ministry’s efforts to provide adequate training for manpower in the tourism, culture and creative arts, it was restructuring the Hotel, Catering and Tourism Institute into Ghana Hotel and Tourism Training Institute.
“Tourism is a highly specialised industry. Capacity building efforts need to be intensified. Critical professional, managerial and technical skills need to be recruited,” she said.
Mrs Afeku said a standing committee would be set up with representatives between academia, industry and policy makers to bridge the gap between them and to accelerate the development of hospitality.
Prof. Emmanuel Sekyi, Chairman of Vice Chancellors and Rectors of Technical Universities and Polytechnics in Ghana said the collaboration would address the deficiencies in the hospitality sector and create jobs.
Prof. Ernest Boger, Chairman of the Hospitality and Tourism Management of UMES expressed confidence that the partnership would give Ghana’s tourism sector the need push it deserves.