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12.03.2007 General News

Legon to increase science intake by 40% next year

By Ayuure Kapini Atafori

In an attempt to boost science education in Ghana in line of with the in-coming new educational reforms, the University of Ghana, Legon, will increase its intake in the sciences by 40 percent of total admission in the next academic year.

The university authorities are, therefore, seeking assistance from the Government and corporate organisations to support the increased enrolment.

The Vice Chancellor, Clifford Nii Boi Tagoe, made this known at the congregation of the university in Accra Saturday.

"In line with the national goal of placing greater emphasis on science education, the university is working towards increasing intake to the sciences. Increased assistance from Government and corporate sponsors to meet these targets and particularly to boost female admission in the sciences would be most appreciated,” Professor Tagoe said.

He said a contract would soon be awarded for the construction of a central science laboratory for the university.

Continuing on the important role science plays in the socio-economic development of the country, Papa Owusu-Ankomah, Minister for Education, Science and Sports, observed that the world is fast becoming a knowledge-based place.

Mr Owusu-Ankomah noted that the more knowledge a country could usefully produce and trade, the greater its chances of achieving economic advancement.

“It is in recognition of this that Government has embarked on an educational reform whose thrust, direction and emphasis is on the study of Science and Technology, Technical and Vocational Education and Training, the development of human capital and research.”

He said the basic idea underlying the reforms is to address the shortcomings in the system and restructure the curriculum to make students more development-oriented as well as make education accessible at all levels.

“Government believes that it is through the reforms we are making in our educational system that we can be capable of producing a culturally sound and scientifically and technologically literate and productive society.”

He said it was necessary for the university to increase the pace at which results are translated into our daily activities in all spheres of life, pledging the Ministry's continued support for tertiary educational institutions.

The Minister said maintaining the quality is one of the challenges confronting tertiary institutions in the country, adding that the current situation is worrying.

Indicating that the primary cause of the situation is dwindling resources amid growing enrolments, the Member of Parliament for Sekondi said the two variables need to be balanced for qualitative education to be achieved.

“The question that comes to mind is how to deal with the situation without sacrificing quality. Indeed, quality depends, among other things, on the ability to maintain a balance between enrolments and resources at a unit cost level which allows the system to sustain itself.”

The aspiring New Patriotic Party presidential candidate underscored the need to explore alternative sources of funding to supplement the Government"s tertiary education budget. He asserted that when the needed facilities are provided coupled with the desired motivation, the lecturers would produce graduates who can compete favourably with others in the global job market.

“To this end, Government is still in discussions with the Standing Joint Negotiations Committee of the universities with the view of reaching some amicable agreement on salaries based on the roadmap for the universities. I wish to assure you that Government will not renege on its commitment to the roadmap.”

About 4,542 students graduated at various levels, totalling 6,567 graduands for the 2005/2006 academic year since 2,025 students graduated at the congregation in November last year. At the Bachelor's degree level, a total of 564 students, representing 14 percent of the graduating class, obtained First Class Honours, 1388 (35 percent) got Second Class Upper, 1816 (46 percent) clocked Second Class Lower while 175 (five percent) garnered Third Class. About 16 percent of the Certificate and Diploma students obtained distinction, with the rest going away with passes. Of the 216 post-graduate graduands, three were awarded Doctor of Philosophy degrees.