The President of the Presbyterian University College, Ghana (PUCG), Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Adow Obeng, has said the legislative and institutional reforms being carried out by the government in the tertiary education sector will have a positive impact on private universities.
Speaking at the 13th Congregation of PUCG at the Okwahu Campus of the university college at Abetifi last Saturday, he mentioned the Tertiary Education Bill, which the government had placed before Parliament, and which sought, among others, to streamline the governance and other important issues in the management of public tertiary education in Ghana, as one move that could turn things round for the private universities.
“This bill seeks to create a single tertiary education regulatory body in Ghana. It also seeks to regulate the establishment of new private university colleges and abolish mentorship and affiliation of private universities to a public university.
“The new bill will do away with affiliation and set out rules and guidelines for the establishment of a private university. This is good news to managers of private universities, ” Rev. Prof. Obeng said.
Seven hundred and two students, made up of 349 males (49.7 per cent) and 353 females (50.3 per cent) graduated in various programmes of study.
Rev. Prof. Obeng said once an institution met the guidelines set out in the new bill, stringent as they were, it would start as an autonomous institution.
“I am sure this will speed up the process of the charter of many of the existing private universities as well, including the Presbyterian University College, Ghana, and thus remove some financial burden from the heads of private university management. As a university, we are currently working hard to meet the requirements for charter,” he said.
The PUCG president said another development in the new tertiary education bill was the qualification for teaching in a tertiary education institution in Ghana, be it public or private. Once the new bill becomes law, all persons who wish to teach in tertiary education institutions in Ghana would be expected to have at least a postgraduate diploma in Education.
“What this means is that whether the individual is a Professor of Chemistry or Religious Studies, he/she must, in addition to the requisite MPhil or PhD, also have a postgraduate diploma in Education, in other words, be trained as a professional teacher before he/she can teach that discipline in a tertiary educational institution in Ghana.
Rev. Prof. Obeng said the PUCG had received accreditation to commence two undergraduate programmes- BSc International Development and BSc Computer Engineering – and one graduate programme MSc Financial Risk Management.
“These are important additions to the curriculum offerings in the university. These new programmes bring our undergraduate programmes to 17 and the graduate programmes to five,” he said.
“These are professional programmes which will prepare the youth immediately for the world of work. This will diversify the job opportunities available to the youth on this ridge and other semi-urban areas where our campuses are located,” he said .
He also said other programmes that were going through affiliation were Doctor of Optometry and BSc Midwifery for the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at Agogo, and MPhil in Educational Studies for the Faculty of Education at Akropong.
Centralised applications and placement system
Rev. Prof. Obeng also mentioned as a positive move, the Centralised Applications and Placement System (CAPS) being worked on by the government where there would be only one platform for admission of freshmen and women to Ghanaian public universities,
“This system, hopefully, will ensure some parity in the distribution of students across the universities and guarantee that the private universities get a fair share of student numbers,” he stated.
He, therefore, pointed out that it was in the supreme interest of private universities to be on the CAPS platform. “PUCG has decided to be on the platform and we are currently working to improve our ICT infrastructure and redesigning our admission forms and processes so that we can be on the system when it is finally rolled out. This will further enhance the visibility of the university.”
The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rt. Rev. Prof. J.O.Y. Mante, said the church had a focus on discipline which had an impact on the training of students in PUCG.
“It is in line with this that the PUCG has established the Centre for the Promotion of Life Values, which inculcates in its students, moral values, discipline and hard work,“ he said.
He gave an assurance that the PUCG would continue to focus on remaining relevant to the needs of the country.
The Guest Speaker, Mr James Ebo Whyte, who is the Executive Director of Roverman Productions, admonished the new graduates to go out to the world, work and prove their worth.