20.05.2005 General News

Legon Vice-Chancellor lists his accomplishments

20.05.2005 LISTEN

Accra, May 20, GNA - Professor Kwadwo Asenso-Okyere has issued a statement detailing his accomplishment following the directives from the University Council to proceed on leave or get sacked for non-performance.

The statement made available to the Ghana News Agency on Friday said: "Recent developments at the University of Ghana that have permeated the national and international media have compelled me to undertake this assignment which, by my nature I would not do under normal circumstances.

"In the past, I made significant achievements in other positions I occupied in the University and elsewhere but I did not make any noise about them. The evidence is there for everybody to see, the Vice-Chancellor said.

"Taking cognisance of the mission of the University of Ghana and its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, my vision as Vice-Chancellor was to provide a strong leadership that would create a conducive environment and provide the required resources at the University for relevant and effective training, research and advocacy for the advancement of human society."

Professor Asenso-Okyere said: "During my Induction Ceremony as Vice-Chancellor of University of Ghana on October 1, 2002, I launched an institutional transformation process, which was geared towards: expediting the decision making process; setting up a supportive administrative/managerial system; expanding available resources and improving their efficient use and preservation for future use.

"Upholding integrity in student admissions, teaching and examinations and staff recruitments and promotions; providing a conducive atmosphere for work and learning; enhancing the incentive structure for all categories of staff; beautifying the campus and improving the relations of the University with the general public including the Alumni of the University.

"I am sure I have made some progress with the elements of the transformation process," the Vice-Chancellor said.

With respect to infrastructure development Prof Asenso Okyre said, when took up office on October 1, 2002 the most pressing need of the University was lecture hall space.

"Many students stood outside to listen to lectures because of lack of space. Students had to run from one class to another to be able to secure space. This implied that those who could not run or do it as fast as others had to stand outside. The need for additional lecture halls, therefore, attracted my immediate attention", the Vice-Chancellor said. "Students' accommodation was also another area that required attention since the University could accommodate only about 30 per cent of the student population."

He said as at January 2005 a large lecture hall to accommodate 360 students had been completed behind the Agriculture Building; 'N' Block type of lecture hall containing 3 large lecture halls with a combined capacity of 1,800 had been completed; another large lecture hall with capacity of 360 was completed in April 2005 and another lecture hall with a capacity of 360 is under construction at the Accra City Campus and it would be ready for use by August 2005.

The Vice-Chancellor said: "Arrangements were made for Ghana Commercial Bank to finance the construction of a Lecture/Examination Hall Complex for the University to commemorate the Bank's Golden Jubilee Anniversary. It is hoped that the Complex with capacity of 1,600 will be completed sometime in 2006.

"The University is using its own funds to construct the second phase of the International Students' Hostel and the Graduate Students' Hostel to increase the intake of international students and graduate students. It is hoped that the two hostels will be completed in the course of the year for student occupation in August 2005. "Arrangements are far advanced for the construction of the second phase of the Jubilee Hall.

"The University has also concluded agreements with Ghana Hostels Limited for the second phase of its student hostel project. "Arrangements have also been concluded with some private investors for the construction of private hostels on campus. It is expected that construction will start soon.

He said with the increasing number of students, the Balme Library had become too small and could not take up modern developments in information technology and to cope with space and technological demands, the expansion of the Library received his immediate attention when he assumed office.

"Designs were made for three-storey extension to be constructed on both the east and the west sides of Balme Library. Construction of the extension is in advanced stage and it is hoped that it will be ready for use by the end of 2005 or early 2006.

The Vice-Chancellor said: "To obtain more library space, arrangements were made to construct a two-storey building as an extension to the Agriculture Library and for a Biotechnology Research Centre to boost agricultural research. It is anticipated that the Building will be ready for use by August 2005."

Prof Asenso-Okyere tabulated development project he had undertaken and the source of funding since assuming office to include; augmentation of the Legon Campus Water Supply with three boreholes and submersible pumps funded by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, other donors and University of Ghana - the project is ongoing.

Clay and Metal Products Limited is building an incinerator for the University.

Ghana Commercial Bank is building lecture/examination hall complex.

"N-Block" type of lecture/examination halls has been completed with the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund).

The GETFund is funding the extension to Balme Library and the construction of a sports complex comprising gymnasium; swimming pool; changing rooms and sports stadium.

The University is funding the building the Phase II of the International Students Hostel; Graduate Hostel Phase II; The Vice-Chancellor said under the President's Special Projects a lecture/examination hall; students' hostel and 12-unit duplex staff bungalows to accommodate 24 families are under construction. He said the GETFund is also funding the construction of lecture /examination hall at the Accra City Campus of the University, while AgSSIP has provided money for extension to the College of Agriculture Library and Biotechnology Research Facility.

Prof Asenso-Okyere said a banking and Credit Union facility has been completed adding:

He said Volta Hall and Volta Hall Alumni are constructing a "Women Resource Centre", adding that Mr Sam Aboah and University of Ghana are constructing a "Recreational Quadrangle" and developing a teak plantation.

Other projects being undertaken include the construction of School of Allied Health Sciences Building with funds from the Ministry of Health and GETFund.

The Fund has also completed the construction of the Phase One of the Social Studies Building comprising additional offices and lecture hall space for the Departments of Political Science and Psychology and provided Computer Network for the Faculty of Social Studies GETFund has completed lecture/examination hall for the College of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences while the Japan international Cooperation Agency (JICA) has built "West Africa Centre for International Parasite Control".

Africa Capacity Building Foundation has completed the First Phase of the extension to the Department of Economics while Saudi Prince Alwaleed has also funded the building of a Clinical Research Facility at NOGUCHI Medical Research Centre.

The GETFund and Carnegie Corporation of New York are expanding ICT Infrastructure and automating the library system in the University. The Alumni Association and the University of Ghana have just started the construction of "Alumni Centre".

GETFund is re-wiring halls of residence. The Fund and private sources are constructing the "ARPPIS Building".

The Vice-Chancellor said the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) had completed the construction of HIV/AIDS Testing and Counselling Centre.

On roads, Prof Asenso Okyere said Kuottam Construction Limited is building a new road behind the Department of Geology and Department of Geography and Resource Development, while University alone is rehabilitating the South Legon Road.

The GETFund is rehabilitating the Botanical Link Road and Taysec had just started the construction of Chemistry-Law Link Road. Other projects that have just started include Staff Development and Learning Resource Centre; Students' Hostel and Dental School Building at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital all funded by the GETFund.

Private funds had been sought for the construction of School of Public Health Building, while the GETFund had completed the re-roofing of School of Nursing Building.

The University from its own resources has completed the fencing of the University Guest Centre.

Prof Asenso-Okyere said the ongoing projects he inherited included the construction of Faculty of Law Building by the GETFund and the construction of the LECIA Building, which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was undertaking.

The Vice-Chancellor said ICT had been made the driving force of the activities of research, teaching, learning and administration in the University.

A proposal for funding was put together and submitted to Carnegie Corporation of New York followed by a visit by the Vice-Chancellor to the Corporation in New York in April and August of 2003.

After an extensive review a grant of 1.67 million dollars was given to the University to be used to automate the library system, improve access to ICT by Students and Faculty, and set up a Management Information System adding that more than 600 computers were purchased in 2004 for the ICT programme of the University.

He said through the grant it has been possible to send Internet connectivity and to provide computers to Faculties and Halls of Residence. These facilities were facilitating students' access to ICT. The Accra City Campus and the Korle-Bu Campus were being connected to the main campus by radio for which a mast had been mounted.

The introduction of ICT fee of 300,000 cedis per student per year during the 2004 -2005 academic year had provided funds to speed up the Computer Literacy Programme for students. The University Hospital and the Guest Centre are being networked for computerization of their operations.

The creation of the ICT Directorate and the subsequent appointment of Director and Deputy Director of ICT have assured the success of the ICT Programme of the University.

Prof Asenso-Okyere said the adoption of Integrated Tertiary System (ITS), as the main software for administration would facilitate the Management Information System of the University adding: "Plans have advanced in making the whole campus wireless for ICT through a WIFI System. Arrangements are also being made to make Students and Faculty to own their computers through a credit facility.

He said in line with the use of technology for Faculty and Senior Administrators, a Staff Development and Learning Resource Centre had been established and temporary accommodation for the Centre had been secured at the basement of the Wetlands Building while the construction of a permanent building for the Centre took off in February 2005 and it was expected to be completed by August 2005.

He said new buildings that were coming up were being made ICT sensitive adding that he had personally adopted the Department of Computer Science to bring it up to modern standards so that it could train Students, who compare with Students in other parts of the world and would be able to take up the challenges in the industry at all times.

On the recruitment of Lecturers Prof Asenso-Okyere said: "To enable a new candidate for Faculty appointment to know about the University and the unit from which the employment is being sought, and also for the unit to carry out a preliminary assessment of the candidate, it is now required that that the candidate gives a seminar or demonstration teaching before the current Faculty.

"The scores and comments of the Faculty for the presentation are forwarded to the Appointments Board before the interview of the candidate. The candidate is also required to call on the Dean of the Faculty for interaction and the views of the Dean are sent to the Appointments Board.

"These interactions serve as screening process for the best persons to be employed for the University.

On academic quality assurance he said: "To ensure that the highest standards are maintained in the teaching, examination and research programmes of the University, a position of Director of Academic Quality Assurance has been created. A former Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor D.A. Akyeampong has been appointed the first Director.

He said to regulate the conduct of Faculty in the discharge of their duties, a draft Code of Ethics had been prepared waiting for the Academic Boards to discuss and adopt.

The Vice-Chancellor said: "As part of a programme for diversity, the University began a policy of admitting some students from less endowed secondary schools on concessionary terms. The first batch of such admissions was done in the 2004 -2005 academic year for 403 students, who were all given scholarship for Academic Facility User Fee.

He said: "To make University of Ghana relevant for Ghana's development and increase the employability of its graduates, departments have been asked to revise their curricula to bring them up to date with modern trends and change their pedagogical techniques to embrace problem solving by the students.

"With the establishment of the Sports Directorate it will be possible for students to do sports for academic credit beginning from the 2005/2006 academic year.

"A compulsory course in Entrepreneurial Development for all undergraduates has been established effective 2004/2005 academic year. This will inculcate entrepreneurship spirit in the graduates of the University and make them productive at work.

The Vice-Chancellor said he inherited an approved programme for the establishment of the Faculty of Engineering Sciences and when he took office arrangements were started for the implementation of the programme and during the 2004-2005 academic year, the first batch of students were enrolled in the Engineering Programme.

"An industrial attachment programme during the holidays has been added to the training to give hands-on experience to the students." On Research Administration, he said: "To put the right emphasis on research, the hitherto School of Graduate Studies was expanded to include research and was appropriately designated School of Research and Graduate Studies. A Research Administrator has been appointed to assist in identifying sources for sponsored research, compliance with research proposal developments, disbursement of research funds and research reporting to donors.

"The institution of a prize for the Best Researcher would inspire the culture of cutting edge research among the Faculty in fulfilment of one of the pillars of the mission of the University.

He said when he "took over as Vice-Chancellor, Interim Assessments (IA's) that made up about 30 per cent of final semester marks for students had been cancelled for the Humanities due to large class sizes. IA's tended to put less emphasis and stress on the final examinations. Re-introduction of IA's would be possible if the number of graduate students increase. Steps are being taken to do that.

"A scholarship scheme has been set up for both PhD and MPhil students to serve as incentive to attract good students into the graduate programmes. Graduate students, who are given scholarship under this scheme, will be expected to assist in the teaching and examinations processes and take up Faculty positions upon completion of their programmes.

"The School of Administration has been renamed University of Ghana Business School to reflect trends in the world and to make it assume a posture that would make the School to attract more funding and make it easier for its graduates to secure jobs.

"The establishment of the College of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences brings to two the Colleges of the University of Ghana. The constituent members of the College are the School of Agriculture, Institute of Agriculture Research, and the School of Family and Consumer Sciences. It is hoped that the new College will make a significant impact on agricultural development in the country through well-coordinated teaching, research and advocacy programmes.

"The establishment of the Centre for Gender Studies and Advocacy will enable the University to look at the important issue of gender in all spheres of life and enable the University to comment and offer advice on the gender dimensions of issues in the society."

The Vice-Chancellor said the establishment of Centre for Distance Education had paved the way for the take-off of Distance Education Programmes at the University adding: "It is hoped that the Centre would enable many people who for one reason or another cannot access University of Ghana education on the campus to do so from remote sites and at their own pace.

"Arrangements have been made for financial and technical assistance from UNICEF for the initiative, said.

Prof Asenso-Okyere said: "To extend University of Ghana education to many people, who because of work cannot enrol full time at Legon, the Accra City Campus was inaugurated in 2003 as partial fee- paying campus. If the experiment succeeds, it is hoped that it will be expanded to other regional capitals where the University of Ghana Workers' College set-up already exists.

He said: "With a lot of perseverance the revision of the Statutes (of the University), which was started several years ago was completed and promulgated and became effective on August 1, 2004.

"The Planning Committee, which had been defunct for some time, has been revived to look at issues concerning planning in the University. The Vice-Chancellor said: "Wworkshop(s) for new Deans, new Heads of Department, and newly appointed Senior Members has been introduced to orient these appointees towards the work of the University, at the beginning of each academic year.

"To ensure proper functioning of the administrative system and facilitate its management, a re-organisation of the administration of the University has been carried out with the creation of the following directorates: Academic Affairs; Human Resource and Organisational Development Finance; ICT; Internal Audit; Physical Development and Municipal Services and Planning and Management Information Service Prof Asenso-Okyere said "Realising that the routine of renewing the contracts of Senior Members had been abandoned, it has been re-introduced and linked to the Finance Directorate for proper human resource management.

He said at the beginning of each academic year he organised a reception for Leaders on campus dubbed, "Leaders Rendezvous", where they get to know each other and share ideas together and was also able to settle a serious impasse between the Workers' Union and the Director of Health Services in 2003.

On Financial Management the Vice-Chancellor said: "Auditing of University's main accounts has been brought up to date after inheriting a backlog of three years. At the moment the accounts of the previous year are audited by June of the current year.

"Annual budgeting has been introduced as part of planning and management. Quarterly budget analysis will be introduced as an expenditure control mechanism.

He said as Chairman of Vice-Chancellors Ghana (VCG) he played a significant role in the negotiations for a hefty salary increase for Senior Members of Public Universities in 2004.

The Vice-chancellor said an "Active programme for beautifying the campus is proceeding. Recreational quadrangles, lawns and pavements are being constructed to make the campus attractive.

"Acquisition of two tractors with slashers has facilitated the weeding of the campus.

"Streets and buildings have been given names and sign (posts) have been put up to guide new students and visitors.

"Very soon an Information Centre will be constructed to provide information to visitors to the campus.

"Street lighting has been expanded in both the academic and residential areas of the campus.

"Establishment of Dental Unit at the University Hospital The provision of two dental chairs (one by the UG Dental School and the other by the Ghana Health Service) and the hiring of a dentist culminated in the take-off of the Dental Unit at the University Hospital.

"A student Financial Aid Office has been established to assist needy students and operate scholarship and prize schemes for bright students. "Non-viable commercial units like the Manciple's Organisation and the Central Cafeteria have been closed down, and the space of the Central Cafeteria divested.

"Potentially profitable units like the Guest Centre and University Bookstore have been charged to focus on profits in the their operations. The two profit centres already pay dividends to the University. The Agricultural Research Centres and the University Hospital have been asked to prepare Business Plans to enable them to operate better and make profits from their operations.

"The University has signed over 170 memorandum of understanding with foreign institutions for student exchanges and joint Faculty research. Foreign students enrolment has increased over the last few years and this has brought in additional income to the University. The number of foreign students has grown from 238 in 2001/2002 to 603 in 2003/2004, an increase of 153 per cent. In 2003/2004 the income from foreign students fees amounted to 3.2 million dollars.

He said: "To boost staff morale, each of the almost 4,800 Staff of the University of Ghana on all the campuses was given two chickens for Christmas in 2004. The good thing was that the chickens were raised at the University of Ghana Agricultural Research Centre, Legon. This challenge enabled the Research Centre to test its ability to carry out large-scale poultry farming and also earned some income from the venture.

"A strong relationship has been built with the Alumni of the University. A monthly Vice-Chancellor's Alumni Dinner, sponsored by an Alumnus or Alumna has yielded over 500 million in donations by guests. He said he would continue with his efforts at fundraising both in Ghana and outside to obtain the necessary resources to run the University.

"The Alumni in Ghana, Europe and North America will continue to be cultivated to contribute handsomely to their alma mater. Steps already taken will be intensified.

"Individuals and firms will be encouraged through personal contacts to donate and/or set up scholarship schemes for students. He said: "Efforts at beautifying the campus will continue." Prof Asenso-Okyere said: "During my tenure, the University has made progress in the implementation of its 10-year Strategic Plan. My vision to transform the University is on course."

Prof Kwadwo Asenso-Okyere holds a PhD and is FGA, FACE Professor and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana.

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