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12.11.2003 Education

UCC evolves strategies to enhance distance education

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Cape Coast, Nov. 12, GNA- The Centre for Continuing Education (CCE) of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), will soon launch a pilot programme on the use of radio for distance learning.

The programme would later be run fully as a medium to deliver lectures, the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the UCC, Professor Kobina Yankson said this at the UCC's celebration of the 'African University Day'.

It had the theme: "Distance learning and African Universities." The day, which was instituted by the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU) Council of Ministers in 1994, is geared towards raising the public's awareness about issues relating to African universities and the crucial challenges that face higher education on the continent. The celebration coincided with the UCC's cultural week, which is being used to portray the nation's rich cultural heritage, such as the various traditional attires like smocks, kente and others, by both staff and students of the university.

The Pro-Vice Chancellor, underscored the prominent role distance education plays in access to university education, in the midst of inadequate academic and residential facilities, lack of funds and inadequate personnel currently facing public universities, which he said could compromise standards if care was not taken.

Prof Yankson pointed out that the UCC's continued existence and relevance as a university, depends on how well it is able to reach out to the teeming population "yearning year in and year out for higher education".

He said the CCE has also established 'study centres' in all the regional capitals, with the Ashanti and Upper West regions having additional centres at Akrokerri and Tumu respectively. There are plans to open additional centres in the Brong Ahafo, Eastern, Greater Accra, Northern and Upper East regions, as well as an additional one in Ashanti.

Prof. Yankson, observed that the increase of students at the CCE from 777 to about 7,000 within three years, as against the university's regular campus-based enrolment programmes from 55 in 1962 to 12,202 this year, was an indication that "it certainly will not be long before students obtaining UCC degrees by distance outnumber their regular counterparts".

The Pro-Vice Chancellor lauded the President Special Initiatives (PSI) on ICT and distance learning, and announced that the UCC had taken its distance learning activities beyond the borders of the country.

According to him, under the auspices of the African Virtual University (AVU), the UCC is collaborating with the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in Australia to mount diploma and degree programmes in computer science via satellite.

Mr Stephan Nwole, a level 100 student in computer science who is taking part in the RMIT distance-learning programme received an award for excelling during the first semester.

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