Tema, June 23, GNA - Ms Elizabeth Ohene, Minister for Tertiary Education on Wednesday called on the public to patronise the distance education programme to ensure effective and efficient use of the centres that are being established in the country.
She said the distance education programme that started a few years ago, has not only helped to ease the pressure on facilities of the existing universities but had made a dramatic difference to many people, especially for teachers who want to continue to stay in the classroom while studying for their degrees.
She said all efforts being made would be fruitless, if we were unable to develop the human resource of the nation.
Ms Ohene was inaugurating and handing over a centre built by the Rotary Club of Tema to the University of Cape Coast for distance continuing education with emphasis on the training of the physically challenged at Tema.
The usage of the facility in terms of rent payment would have cost the university 60 million cedis per year but it has been leased at a fee of 18 million cedis per year for a period of 10 years.
The Minister said, Ghana needed to educate her people and continue to train and retrain the workforce for the country to make significant headway.
"We cannot rely on the traditional classroom setting alone to achieve our targets; this is why government is determined to push distance education as quickly and as fast as possible".
While urging the physically challenged to make maximum use of the programmes of the facility, she entreated the public to avail themselves of the opportunity to upgrade their knowledge for improvement.
Ms Ohene commended the club for releasing the facility for the programme, which would help ease pressures of the facilities saying that even though her outfit does not offer admissions, her Ministry has received 1,023 interventions for admissions into the universities.
Reverend Professor E. A. Obeng, Vice Chancellor of the UCC said the university has made modest success in the areas of distance education and sandwich programmes organised by the university and has introduced a number of marketable and career oriented programmes to meet the developmental needs of the country.
"Today, the university is in the process of extending its programmes to an area which, hitherto had been neglected by all, that is distance education for the physically challenged".
He said the centre would help fulfil the university's objective of vigorously pursuing distance education and developing relevant programmes to increase access and to provide tertiary education to many qualified Ghanaians who would have been denied access due to limited facilities in the existing universities to meet the manpower needs of the country.
Rev. Prof. Obeng said the programme seeks to bring education to the doorsteps of Ghanaians but it is constrained by inadequate physical infrastructure and limitations imposed by prospective students' employers.
He said through the programme, admissions have been offered to about 4,200 qualified applicants for the 2004/2005 academic year, which organises basic education and business studies programmes at the diploma level and mount the same programmes at the post-diploma level from October 2005.
Mr Sam Dickson, President of the club said the centre was built to provide access to tertiary education to the physically challenged to tap their hidden talents but realising the university's expertise in special education it decided to release it to the university.