THE PANEL of scholars invited by the University of Ghana, Legon, to review its academic programmes over the last sixty years, has strongly recommended the immediate evacuation of Commonwealth Hall of the University in order to prevent a major catastrophe.
Speaking at a ceremony to formally present the report to the University Council, the Chairman of the Panel, Sir John Daniel, said the state of the hall was so appalling that it had increased stress on students, culminating in some of them behaving in uncivilized manner.
Sir Daniel, who is also the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth Of Learning, said the panel was troubled by the sanitation situation in the hall which had forced some of the students to respond to nature's call in the bushes, adding that the University should be thankful to God that a major epidemic had not occurred.
He called for the subsequent renovation of the hall and warned that the re-population of the Halls of residence, popularly termed as “perching” by students, should be eliminated, and the private sector encouraged to provide and operate new hostels.
Sir Daniel said the panel also found out that most of the departments and curricula had not been reviewed for many years and recommended a review every five years.
The panel also introduced new and more relevant interdisciplinary courses such as Gender and Development to reflect the needs of the 21st Century.
He added that there was the need for graduate studies to be prioritized and strategic techniques outlined to source funding from industries for research.
Sir Daniel said the current role and composition of the University Council were out of date as compared to other countries such as the United Kingdom and South Africa, adding that they needed to be enlarged so as to attract other lay members such as experts with legal and financial background.
He noted that the panel also recommended the reconstruction of the current Academic Board by reducing its membership, abolishing certain committees and changing the functions of others, stressing that the university could become one of the best institutions in the world if the recommendations were applied.
The Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Clifford Nii Boi Tagoe, said the proposals reflected the University's quest to become one of the best in Africa and the world at large.
Professor Tagoe added that the university would meet with its Council members to study and effect the necessary changes in the report, noting that it was not going to be easy.
The Chairman of the University Council, Mr Oteng Gyasi, said the report was vital for the university and others in the country if they were to become relevant in the 21st century.
The Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education, Ms. Elizabeth Ohene, expressed gratitude to the panel for the work done and added that government would ensure that the recommendations were applied.
Other proposals made by the damning report include reducing the intake of students, promoting distance learning to absorb continuing demand and expanding the Accra City campus.
The panel also recommended the creation of a new post of Director of Student Residences, making the post of Dean of Students full-time and having a pro-Vice chancellor assume responsibility for formal communication between the student body and the university administration.
The University of Ghana requested a visitation by a 16 member panel from eight countries to review teaching and learning functions and the quality of its operations in general.
The panel was charged with reviewing the academic programmes, infrastructure, resources as well as the university's administrative and governance structures. By Abubakar Salifu