Regional News of 2014-06-10

Expand scope of GETfund - Prof Dolphyne

Professor Florence Abena Dolphyne, former Pro-Vice Chancellor at the University of Ghana, has called on the Government to expand the scope of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) to support Private Universities offering special programmes.

She said: “I would like to suggest that GETFund, which was originally set up to support Tertiary Education, be made to support private universities that have viable programmes in Computer Science, Information Technology, and/or in the core and applied Sciences to train graduates who have the potential for higher degrees for future employment in those institutions.

“This is the only way a private University can ensure that it has dedicated lecturers, who will help grow their alma mater the way the older public universities have done,” Prof. Dolphyne stated at the maiden matriculation of the Marshalls University College in Accra.

She noted that providing buses to private universities by GETFund was very helpful, but “the human capital that a university needs for its survival and for venturing into science-based programmes is very crucial indeed in our present-day competitive world.

“I believe that private universities are providing very useful service that the growing numbers of our youth desperately need, and the responsibility for ensuring that they have adequate and quality human capital to train our youth should not be left to the institutions alone”.

The former Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana appealed to the State to seriously consider taking up some of the responsibility.

“It has often been said that private universities tend to offer programmes in the Humanities without venturing into courses in Science and Technology. This is generally true, and the reasons for this are not difficult to find.

“Science and Technology programmes require much more investment in physical structure such as laboratories, and usually very expensive equipment that require very well-trained and rather expensive personnel to maintain.

“Moreover, it is relatively cheaper to train a Ph.D. graduate in the Humanities than in the Basic and applied Science. Even in the older public universities, the relationship between the number of lecturers in the Humanities and the Sciences is very lop-sided in favour of the Humanities. This is the reality on the ground”.

Prof. Dolphyne stated that tertiary education in Ghana started in 1948 with the establishment of the University College of Gold Coast as a college of the University of London.

She said from the middle of the 1990s it became obvious that the six public universities; namely the University of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, the University of Cape Coast, University of Education, Winneba, University for Development Student, Tamale, and the University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa, could not cope with the large number of students who qualified.

She said the new Educational Reforms at that time, which had reduced the duration of the secondary school programme, brought in its wake a sudden increase in the number of students who qualified for tertiary education.

“It is not surprising, therefore, that by the year 2000, a number of private universities, mostly established by religious bodies, had come into being, and are doing very well in satisfying the educational aspirations of many young people who would otherwise have missed out on the opportunity to learn new skills,” she said.

Prof Dolphyne said one important fact that has made private universities attractive to many people was that students could register for and pursue programmes of their choice.

“I say this because in the public universities the pressure of the number of applicants sometimes makes it necessary for students to be offered subjects that they did not apply for,” she said.

Mr. Tetteh Nettey, President of Marshalls University College, said the school sought to produce graduates who will meet the challenges of their time and beyond while serving as a positive influence in their society.

He said in seeking to achieve its aims and objectives, Marshalls will provide a wide range of educational activities in an enabling environment to ensure that students acquired the necessary technological know-how required for national development.

The institute will offer courses of study leading to Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate Degrees.

Within the period of commencement of programmes of study, the Degrees shall be jointly awarded by Marshalls University College and the University of Cape Coast, Ghana.