UDS students embark on practical programme in communities
The University for Development Studies (UDS) has deployed 3,333 level 100 students of the university, to 330 communities in 10 districts in the Brong Ahafo Region to embark on their Third Trimester Field Practical Programme (TTFPP)
The programme, which began on Monday, May 27, will end on July 13, 2013.
Already undertaking a similar programme are 2,867 level 200 students, who have been posted to 613 communities in the region this year, with 100 lecturers serving as supervisors,
The TTFPP, which has been run by the university since its establishment 20 years ago, is an integral part of the curriculum that ensures that both students and staff work closely with the rural and deprived communities, with a focus on developing poverty reduction interventions.
It is a ‘‘Must do’’ academic programme and at the very core of the UDS’s academic activities, which no undergraduate student can successfully graduate from the university without fully participating in it.
Before their departure last Monday to embark on their assignment, the students from the Tamale, Navrongo and Wa campuses were assembled at the forecourt of the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) Hostel at the Fiapre Roundabout, where the Vice Chancellor of UDS, Prof. Haruna Yakubu and other senior lecturers addressed them.
He said the university was established with a specific mandate: ‘‘To blend the academic world with that of the community in order to provide constructive and meaningful interaction between the two for the total development of northern Ghana in particular and Ghana as a whole.’’
By that specific mandate, Prof. Yakubu explained that, the university adopted its approach to teaching and learning by placing emphasis on practically oriented research and field-based training, aimed at reducing poverty and contributing to accelerated national development.
He said the main objectives of the programme were aimed at inculcating favourable attitudes in students towards working in rural and deprived communities, exposing students, practically, to the nature of the development problems of northern Ghana, including the Brong Ahafo Region in particular and the country as a whole.
Prof. Yakubu further noted that, the programme was placing the university in a better position to provide useful services through the exchange of knowledge and its application to address the development needs and aspirations of those communities.
Again, he said it informed ongoing research and ensuring that, teaching and learning activities of the university were designed to meet the development needs of the local communities.
The Vice Chancellor indicated that, the TTFPP had a direct relevance to the decentralisation policy of government and had gained popularity in and outside the boundaries of Ghana, adding that, the practical skills that UDS graduates gained from the programme, made them a more preferred choice on the job market, particularly when it came to community-based assignments.
However, Prof. Yakubu pointed out that the major challenge for the UDS in the implementation of the TTFPP was in respect of inadequate funding as student numbers continued to grow in the face of the limited resources, saying that, ‘‘This is our flagship programme and the university will do everything to support it as it forms part of the mandate of the university.’’
The Vice Chancellor, however, appealed to the government, the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs), institutions and all well-meaning individuals to lend support to UDS financially to maintain the programme which enriched the capacity of the youth for the cultural and economic development of Ghana.
He urged the students not to take unnecessary risks during the programme and rather do everything with caution and in moderation, avoid self-medication, stay at their designated communities, work as a team and report any unusual incidence to their supervisors.
Dr Demuyakor Bawah, the Director of the TTFPP, advised the students to comport themselves as they moved about in the various communities they had been deployed to undertake the activities they were assigned to perform.
The head of the health directorate of UDS, Dr Juventus Ziem, also cautioned the participants to uphold the respect that the community members would provide but not to adopt any risky behaviours that could thwart their aim of collecting the data they needed, adding that, they should report to the nearest medical facility for medical attention with their national health insurance cards, when necessary.
The President of the Students’ Representative Council (SRC), Mr Abdul Samed Gaddafi Ayariga, also cautioned his colleagues not to engage in unnecessary arguments and debates that could result in misunderstandings but rather discuss issues that would be beneficial to their work.