Accra, March 11, GNA - The Acting Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Legon, Professor Clifford Nii Boi Tagoe, on Saturday pleaded with government to help attract younger lecturers to teach in the University by making conditions of service very attractive and comparable to those of other professions.
He said the University continued to lose staff mostly through retirement, adding that there was an urgent need to replace retiring staff which calls for a recruitment of about 360 new lecturers. "Presently only about 19 per cent of staff are under 40 years, about 34 per cent are between the ages of 40 and 49 years and about 47 per cent above 50 years," he said.
The Acting Vice Chancellor was speaking at this year's colourful congregation of the University for the graduating class of 2005 during which 5806 students graduated at various levels of academic pursuits, including Certificate, Diploma, Bachelor, Master and Doctoral Degrees. At the Bachelor Degree level 559 students obtained first class out of which 233 were females representing 42 per cent. It is noteworthy that 14 per cent of the female graduating class had first class as compared to 12 per cent of the male graduating class.
Special awards were presented to lecturers for meritorious service with the best teacher award for the sciences and humanities going to Professor E. Kweku Awortwi and Professor Edward Kofi Quashiga, while Mr. Ibrahim Addy received the best worker award The conferment of degrees and diplomas was performed by Dr. Ishmael Yamson, Chairman of the University Council in the absence of a Chancellor. A minute silence was observed for Nana Chancellor, Oyeeman Wereku Ampem II who had passed away.
Professor Tagoe said the university had a total staff strength of 4,368, most of them about to go on retirement adding that a Change Management Team set up last year, had made recommendations for the appointment of Pro-Vice -Chancellors, Provosts and Deans, Management of Academoc Directorates, among others.
Concerning the student population, he said the University currently had 27,745 students on the three campuses namely Legon, Korle-Bu and Accra City, an increase of less than 1000 over last year's and excluded students from affiliated institutions.
Professor Tagoe said the University received 21,999 applications for admission to under-graduate programmes for the 2005/2006 academic year but was able to offer admission to only 10,629 applicants due to lack of academic facilities.
He said some new programmes introduced by the university to meet current trends include MA sandwich programme in Adult Education and Religion, level 100 Statistics courses and ICT programmes for students. He said Ghana had joined the West Africa Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSSCE) and students would start taking this examination from 2006, adding that, modalities for admission of these candidates to the university for 2007/2008 were being worked out.
Professor Tagoe expressed gratitude to the government for making funds available for the provision of accommodation for both students and staff adding that the University had also set up a Student Financial Aid office to assist needy but bright students.
He apologised for the inability of the University to hold the Congregation in September last year due to some turbulent events, including examination scandals and called on the graduands to make the University proud in whatever they did.
Mr. Joseph Henry Mensah, Senior Minister who represented the President, said government fully supported the decision by the University Council and Academic Board to set up a panel to undertake a Visitation of the University such as academic programmes, staff recruitment and standards, physical infrastructure and financial resources.
He said government would do all in its power to facilitate such a visitation and its review of Legon, adding that government would not countenance any indiscipline, fraud, chicanery and other acts that could destroy the integrity of the University.
Commenting on the confirmation of examination leakages by the Mfodwo Report, Mr. J.H. Mensah said various statements and misstatements in the media had hugely dented the reputation of the University, which must not be allowed to fester any longer.
"In whatever we do and say, let us remember that the University of Ghana is our own institution, and that its healthy survival into the future must be our prime concern," he added.
Mr. Bright Amoah, who presented the Valedictory address on behalf of the students called on the President to ensure that at least one residential block was put up this year to accommodate Teaching Assistants.
He said this would go a long way to motivate young graduates to become lecturers.