The authorities of the University of Ghana, Legon, have started discussions on the introduction of non-dissertation Master's degree programmes.
The philosophy behind this is to boost completion rates for Master's students, particularly those enrolled on sandwich programmes which run during vacation periods.
"The majority of these students are already practitioners in their various fields, and the thinking is that this category of students would benefit more from a strong theoretical base in their respective fields of study, which could be obtained from the term paper format, or a series of shorter assignments, rather than the process of dissertation proposal, development, completion and defence," the Vice Chancellor, Prof. C.N.B. Tagoe, said at the 2009 congregation of the university last Saturday.
He said during the year under review, programmes in Pharmacy were approved to augment the programmes offered by other schools and institutes in the College of Health Sciences.
Others which were approved during the past academic year included a Master of Arts degree programme in Social Policy Studies, run by the Centre for Social Policy Studies, an elective course in Health Communication and a sandwich Master of Arts programme in Communication Studies.
A Master of Arts programme in Museum and Heritage Studies has also revised its undergraduate programmes to meet the demands of the market.
Prof. Tagoe said approval had been given for the establishment of the Ghana Cocoa Board Chair in Agriculture to start in August this year, adding that $500,000 had been provided by the Ghana Cocoa Board to start an endowment fund for such purpose.
He indicated that in the 2007/08 academic year, the university disbursed GH¢500,000 from its own coffers to members of staff to conduct research and attend conferences.
In its 2009 budget, he said the university had again made an allocation of GH¢500,000 from its own resources for research and that “we expect the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) to match this amount.
Prof Tagoe said in order to improve the quality of teaching and research as well as enhance the international standing of the university steps were being taken to enforce the requirement that applicants for appointment to lectureship should hold PhD.
On financial support for students, he said the Students Financial Aid Office (SFAO) awarded financial aid to 319 students from the three campuses for the2007/08 academic year and that for the 2008/09 academic ear the SFAO had awarded scholarship to 200 students.
"Total scholarship disbursement by the office increased from GH¢12.100 in the 2005/06 academic year to GH¢45.331.52 for the 2007/08 academic year, with significant increases in the number on students applying for and being awarded assistance. Since the 2004/05 academic. Almost 1000 students from senior high schools classified as less endowed by the Ministry of Education have benefited from fee waivers awarded by the university, amounting to over GH¢130.000” he said.