An Associate Professor of the University of Ghana, Legon, Prof Ransford Gyampo, has questioned the thinking ability of the CEO of the Chamber of Bulk Oil Distribution, Mr Senyo Hosi, who recently described Ghana’s premier university as a “school of mediocrity” which is “living on past glories” and does not have “thinkers”.
Speaking truth to power at a stakeholders’ forum to mark the 70th anniversary of the school, Mr Hosi directly told the management of the university, as well as its lecturers and students in the face, that his alma mater must sit up and begin churning out “viable” graduates with “skills” to live.
“I have three degrees; all from the University of Ghana. I won’t hire anybody [from UG], it’s simple. And it’s a matter of substance: what do you churn out? You are churning out people with degrees, not people with an education, not people with skills on how to live; that is the problem.
“And respectfully, the old men running this school, they are too many, get them out. I beg you; you guys are not doing anything that is relevant for the future and you won’t get people wanting to employ the people out of this place.
“Your MBA students, plenty of them I won’t hire, your classmates, I won’t hire. I was also in that school. How many TA [Teaching Assistants] haven’t written people’s thesis?” Mr Hosi told them bluntly.
Citing an example to buttress his verdict on the school, Mr Hosi said: “This is the 70th-anniversary – I mean can you imagine – University of Ghana, 70th-anniversary, what kind of communication went on to promote this programme? Meanwhile, we are supposed to have a Marketing Department at the Business School and a whole Communication School, whatever it is. Look at the number of people here”. “This is a school of mediocrity. Look at the panellists, their tables, no place for them to even keep their books and things and water, they have to go on the floor.
“This typifies what you’re sitting in Prof. If you want to fix it, forget about this your 70 years and your University of Ghana. I bluff a lot with my school because whatever it is, this is where I come from, but forget it, the world has moved on, you’re not going to live on your past glories anymore, people come here because it is a to-do – I must get a degree – that is the reason why people are coming here.
“You must make people cease wanting to come for a degree but wanting to come for an education and with certain skills that make them viable in the future. Your children don’t have skills that make them viable for the future, they don’t have the thinking, they are robots, even that robot they can’t even do it; I’m telling you. So, if you want to fix it, it starts with you guys as lecturers, it starts with being the thinkers, you guys are not thinking, respectfully”, Mr Hosi admonished.
In a reaction, however, Prof Gyampo said: “I disagree with you that UG people don’t think. I rather will wish to question your own ability to think. It seems to me that you spoke without any introspection. Your words were unexamined. Otherwise, how did you obtain three degrees from an institution of non-thinkers? If you are a thinker yourself, why do you go to a non-thinking school to obtain three degrees? UG taught you well, but clearly, not all students are receptive to teaching and learning. Hence your ignorant outburst”.
Read Prof Gyampo’s full response below:
Prof Yaw Gyampo fires back at Senyo Hosi;
A Reply to Senyo Hosi:
Dear Senyo Hosi,
I have seen a video of you attacking the integrity of the University that trained you. We haven’t met before but I remember Lloyd Amoah and I met you at the car park when you were attending the session, and we exchanged pleasantries.
Unfortunately, you got to the venue very late and missed the first session that was fully packed. I had to step out for another meeting and hence missed the second session, where you spewed many insults on UG. I wasn’t there, else I would have stopped you, trust me.
I am told Prof Peter Quartey did well in correcting some of the misinformation and derogatory remarks you made. But his comments have unfortunately not been fully captured by the media as a response to your outburst.
Now let’s deal with the issues:
1. You were honoured by UG by being appointed an Alumni Homecoming Ambassador. Part of your duty was to get many alumni to attend the launch of the homecoming and the dinner so we could raise more resources to help UG. My checks, however, reveal that you were deficient in delivering this simple mandate. You couldn’t attract a single soul to any of the sessions, yet you were not happy that the panel session you attended couldn’t attract many people. What an irony! Kindly note that through its own instrumentalities, UG was able to attract huge numbers to fill the Hall for the morning session. You came in late, at the afternoon session when many participants had left for lunch and for other engagements. If you had been a little punctual as a trained manager, you would have noticed this and would have been measured in your outburst.
2. I disagree with you that UG people don’t think. I rather will wish to question your own ability to think. It seems to me that you spoke without any introspection. Your words were unexamined. Otherwise, how did you obtain three degrees from an institution of non-thinkers? If you are a thinker yourself, why do you go to a non-thinking school to obtain three degrees? UG taught you well, but clearly, not all students are receptive to teaching and learning. Hence your ignorant outburst.
3. In terms of numbers, UG arguably admits the highest number of student applicants every year. This has a huge toll on our infrastructure. Management and staff are poorly paid and the total population of a private University like Ashesi is always less than the number of students who offer my elective course in Governance and Leadership. These challenges notwithstanding, our students are hailed globally. Every year, a huge chunk of our students receives scholarships from the best schools in the world to pursue postgraduate studies. Afterwards, many of them are hired to work there. So, contrary to your claim that we produce students you cannot hire locally, our students are internationally competitive. But listen and think about what you said yourself! You were produced and hired locally, yet you don’t want to hire products produced locally! What is the logic and thinking behind this reasoning?
4. We obviously had some challenges with the organisation of the Homecoming, particularly the fact that current students had no major role in the celebration as they were on vacation. Nevertheless, we did what we could do and well-meaning Ghanaians as well as alumni worth their salt, including the first citizen of Ghana, His Excellency President Nana Akufo Addo, saw the need to join us both via Skype and in person to participate in the homecoming activities. He praised and commended UG for doing its best in spite of the challenges confronting it. You certainly cannot be a better alumnus than the President, Sir.
5. In terms of world rankings of universities, none of the private schools you sought to compare UG to, comes closer to Legon. As a seeming “thinker”, you may want to look out and think through the variables and indicators that are used in determining the rankings. Visit the TIMES Higher Education website and read their reports for some more insight about this.
6. Again as a seeming thinker, you haven’t been able to think about the implications of the low fees charged by UG on the quality of its output. UG is unable to charge huge fees because governments will not allow this, as it will make regimes unpopular. A recent proposal to increase Residential Facility User Fees could not receive parliamentary approval. Hence whereas our students are paying 2000 cedis per year, other private students are paying 10,000 dollars per year.
7. Our challenges notwithstanding, we are willing to proceed at all times in truth and in integrity. We haven’t thrown our hands in hopelessness. We are determined to do our best with the limited resources at our disposal. We are committed to remaining resilient in the face of the difficulties confronting us. In doing this, the least we expect from former students like you is ingratitude and needless show of oration in insulting the school that made you. It’s not about wearing a huge beard and being chauffeured around. It’s about what you can do to help maintain standards at the school that made you who you are today, Senyo.
8. I have chosen to respond to your loose talk because I am a faculty and an official of the university. But this is my personal view. UG itself, at the appropriate time, I believe, will offer a befitting response to you. I, however, and by encouraging you to enhance your capacity by making reading a habit