The outgoing Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof Kwadwo Asenso-Okyere, has described his son's involvement in the examination malpractice which rocked the university in 2004 as the greatest regret of his tenure in office. "It was very unfortunate.
That is my greatest regret. I wish it hadn't happened," he said in an exclusive interview ahead of the formal handing over of the office on Sunday, October 1, 2006.
"I'm sorry that my son was involved in this. I'm really sorry and I apologise on behalf of my family for that thing which rocked the university. It dented our image quite a bit but I'm sure we are picking up the pieces and I hope that at the end of it the University of Ghana will be the winner," he said in an apologetic tone.
Prof Asenso-Okyere said examination malpractice happened all the time but he was quick to add that when it involved the son of the vice-chancellor, then it was very worrying. He said although he advised his family, upon taking office, to be careful in everything they did, still that unfortunate incident came up.
Prof Asenso-Okyere, however, indicated that the university had learnt a great lesson from the incident because it informed it about how some aspects of that malpractice were organised, as a result of which measures had been put in place to address them in the future. He said the university set up the Konu Committee which came up with suggestions to assist in the conduct of examinations.
“So at least the malpractice has led us into some light which will shine over our examinations,” he indicated .
Prof Asenso-Okyere said Legon still had a lot of international goodwill because it was one of the best universities in the world and expressed the hope that the goodwill would be maintained.
“I hope that the image which was dented by the examination malpractice will be repaired so that we will continue to fly high,” he said. The regrettable incident notwithstanding, Prof Asenso-Okyere said in the 40-minute interview that he was leaving office with a great sense of fulfilment and with his head high and his chest up.
"I feel very good; I feel fulfilled. I came to do a job and I think I've done it to the best of my ability,” he said with a smile on his face.
Prof Asenso-Okyere is widely acclaimed as one vice-chancellor who has contributed immensely to the expansion of the university's infrastructure, having initiated many other projects within a period of four years. He enumerated many of such development initiatives he had undertaken to his credit but was quick to add that he made those achievements with the assistance of his lieutenants.
Some of the achievements are the extensions to the Political Science and the Psychology departments, the new M-Block, the Commercial Bank, the Jubilee Hall Complex, the Balme Library Extension, the Insect Science Building and the Law Faculty Building, both of which were inherited from his predecessor, as well as the New Graduate and the new International Students hostels which were built from the university's own funds.
Others are the construction of a 25,000-capacity sports complex, with an Olympic-size swimming pool, which is expected to be completed in 2007 to host the West African University Games, the construction of buildings for the School of Allied Health Sciences and the School of Public Health, the construction of 24 new bungalows for senior staff members, the Alumni Centre, the Agriculture and Consumer Science College Lecture Hall and the ongoing permanent building for the School of Performing Arts.
The completion of the Staff Development and Learning Resource Centre to train the university's faculty to improve upon their teaching and research skills and the facelift being given to some roads on campus were also initiated by Prof Asenso-Okyere.
In terms of governance, the vice-chancellor said he took steps to finalise the revision of the statutes of the university and promulgated them. He said the administration of the university had also been restructured, with the establishment of eight administrative directorates through which the responsibilities of the management staff had been streamlined.