by Egi Gaisie

The long-awaited-for annual delegates’ conference of the Institute of Hospitality (IH) came off at Ho Technical University, Volta Region, from 15th to 17th November.

I am glad I participated and I am yet to give myself a treat for making the effort to be there!

By attending the conference, I got the opportunity to gauge the ‘temperature’ of where we are at on the educational front and I was able to pick up some concerns of students.

I tuned my senses to get a ‘feel’ of the impact we are making as professionals in the industry and the possible trend of hospitality and tourism education in Ghana.  I was also able to identify the current issues (and they are as old as I have been in the industry)!  I listened to the views of Presenters on bridging the gap between the hospitality industry and hospitality education. I also ceased the opportunity to talk with a few personnel (housekeeping, front office and food and beverage) in the hotel I stayed.

The unavailability of ‘news’ about the hospitality industry (operations and education in particular) speaks volumes to some of us.

I was quite pleased with myself for gathering much information; considering that earlier attempts to ‘fish out’ current issues fell flatI had dedicated the last quarter (September to December) of the year to write on ‘Hospitality Education’.You will observe I hardly posted any article.

However, now, I have lots of relevant issues to confidently write about, probably into the first half of 2019!

IH is a professional body for managers and aspiring managers working and studying in the hospitality, leisure and tourism industry, worldwide.  In Ghana, it comprises of hospitality academicians/educators (retired and current), entrepreneurs and professionals in the industry as well as students in all the Technical Universities across the country offering hospitality and tourism programs. From its parent, U.K. platform, its primary purpose is described as follows:

to promote professionalism through lifelong learning. This is achieved through engagement with hospitality educators around the world, through our knowledge library resources and through a program of professional development events. We aim to support all our members at every stage of their career and help them reach their full potential. Every part of our broad industry is supported; Managers, students, educators and suppliers Retrieved from  19/11/2018

In an earlier article I posted on education and training in the hospitality industry in Ghana, I made a summary of efforts made towards capacity building/development in the sector over a period of several years. I indicated that ‘I felt disheartened’ simply because we seem to be doing a merry-go-round and some of us are beginning to feel sick, because its taking us too long to ‘break out’.

Yet after the just ended conference I felt relevant! Frankly speaking, nothing has changedSo I ask myself : Is this the case of seeing the glass half empty or halffull?

The lyrics of our ‘song’ have been and continue to be:

  • lack of qualified and/or experienced personnel at the managerial level
  • lack of dedicated training institutions (for the industry)
  • lack of coordination between public and private sectors in the area of training
  • unwillingness of some private operators to invest in training their personnel but would rather poach trained persons from other hotels
  • the industry is choked with unqualified personnel

I share in the opinion that it is the mandate of our educational institutions to ensure that our graduates are skilled in all aspects of today’s hospitality to meet the recruitment needs of the industry and to get a head start when they join the professional world.

Our Technical Universities should accept their responsibility to track industry developments (beyond Ghana) and update hospitality curricula to continuously benefit our students. Suggestions and comments about ensuring relevance in research works by engaging industry to play a participatory role in shaping research topics during the just ended conference were most welcoming. However, since the industry is ‘quite slow’ here in Ghana, research works could in addition, also look a little beyond our borders. It would be useful. Our educational institutions have to prepare students to be ready to enter the hospitality work market in an efficient way.

Meanwhile, I am encouraged to maintain this platform as a learning platform, an avenue to promote professionalism through lifelong learning as I share critical issues in the hospitality industry(particularly hotel operations) as well as hospitality education in Ghana.

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