The Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG), is hosting a stakeholder consultation meeting on higher education for all heads of its higher educational institutions.
The institutions are Senior High Schools, Colleges of Education and the Presbyterian University College.
The four-day meeting on the theme; “Enhancing Quality Education Delivery in Presbyterian Institutions-The Role of Educational Administrators,” with the sub-theme: Excelling beyond the challenges of COVID-19, is to discuss effective ways, and strategies to managing educational institutions of the Church in terms of discipline, practice and infrastructure development, as a partner to government in the delivery of quality education.
Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, the Deputy Minister of Education, at the opening ceremony in Accra said the world had gotten to a stage where higher education had become critical to turn around the fortunes of nations, and Ghana could not be left behind.
He called for enhanced investments into higher education, and the development of “leapfrog strategies,” that would enhance enrolment levels without compromising on quality, to catch up faster with the racing pace of knowledge in the developed world and also for Africans to remain relevant “in our own spaces.”
Dr Adutwum said though access to shigher educational levels were important, the quality was critical, saying stakeholders had over the years raised concerns about the fallen standards in education, as the job market continued to complain about the sub-standard products from the country’s higher educational institutions.
He encouraged mainstream universities and their affiliate institutions, to see themselves as “recycling plans,” where even if garbage were put in, should come out refined, rather than sticking to the current mass production of students who had little or no ability to create wealth through critical thinking, creativity, and were unprepared for the job market.
Dr Adutwum advised that in building the prestige required in Presbyterian Universities and other Colleges of Education, the institutions should consider the creation of environments that encouraged students to develop assertiveness, to be able to ask critical questions and meaningfully contribute to discussions during their instructional periods and on other platforms.
On incidence of the COVID-19 pandemic and its adverse effect on education globally, he said the post era was going to present an interesting stage for the entire world, with a heavy toll especially, on developing countries, including; Ghana, and could adversely affect Human Index Capital, if nothing was done to avert the situation.
He said challenges such as teacher absenteeism, poor utilization of instructional periods by instructors, inadequate supervision by the requisite authorities, and also the firm positions taken by some lecturers, especially, in higher educational levels, demanded that students “gave back” their instructional notes without value addition during examinations, were contributory factors for the poor educational outcomes in Ghana.
He cited intervention programmes, including; the Free SHS policy for enhanced enrollment, the focus on quality Technical and Vocational Educational Training, and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics as “touch bearing” initiatives to ensure Ghana’s progression towards sustainable development.
He said there were infrastructural upgrade ongoing in higher educational institutions, to accommodate the large number of student intake, and to address the current double track system.
Dr Kofi Awusabo-Asare, the Chairman of the National Accreditation Board, urged all Heads of higher educational institutions to draw up continuity plans if they did not have one in place, which must be used alongside crisis management interventions on teaching and learning, using various social media outlets and other virtual learning platforms.
He urged them to also develop quality e-resources saying, “Virtual teaching and learning has now come to stay,” and that universities must tap into the use of the new opportunities that COVID-19 presented, and invest in research outcomes of students by reviewing strategies for long term effects.
Dr. Awusabo-Asare also encouraged Presbyterian higher educational institutions to remain the “light” towards promoting self-discipline, creating resilience by removing locational disadvantages and further creating awareness of their existence through the show of excellence by the output of their students.
The Rt. Rev. Professor Joseph Obiri Yeboah Mante, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church, thanked the speakers and the participants for the contributions, and encouraged them to continue the discussion for more ideas and innovations to improve Ghana’s higher education.