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21.01.2006 General News

Vice Chancellor defends universities

By GNA

Cape Coast (C/R), Jan. 21, GNA- The Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Addo Obeng, Vice Chancellor, University of Cape Coast, on Saturday denied that the Universities in Ghana had failed the nation and that it was rather the Ghanaian public that had failed the universities.

He explained that the role of the universities in national development could not be over- emphasised and that Ghana would have been worse-off if not for the public universities.

Rev Prof. Obeng made these remarks at the matriculation of 5,285 students for the year 2005/2006 admitted into the University of Cape Coast to pursue diploma and degree programmes through its Distance Learning Education Programme.

The Vice Chancellor reiterated that quality education needed adequate funding, stressing, that it is in this light that negative remarks from sections of the public that Ghana's universities had failed the nation needed to be properly addressed.

He said for well over 30 years the universities were starved of funds which had currently resulted in lack of a adequate infrastructure to cope with the increasing number of students on campuses. He pointed out that funds were hardly provided by government for research, except that of Teaching and Learning Innovation Fund (TALIF), which had specific objectives.

According to Prof. Obeng, even personal emoluments were released late and in some cases were less than the level of commitment of the university.

He expressed concern over parent and guardian's fierce opposition to any suggestion to introduce fees of some kind at the at the university level, but were prepared to pay so much for the education of their children and wards at the nursery, basic and secondary school level. He regretted that very few of the industries were prepared to take on university students for internship and very few provided scholarships to them and also relatively few provided financial support to graduate students to do research.

Prof. Obeng said the universities had been starved of staff because of the salary structure and that it was recently that the present government had worked out a salary structure that may see adequate enhancement in the salaries of lecturers within some three years period. According to him the universities were now beginning to see "a gradual pull" of young lecturers into them, stressing, " you need adequate funds to ensure that universities deliver on their mandate." He called for a concerted effort and maximum corporation of the general public to enable the universities to deliver.

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