THE Principal of the Ghana Telecom University College, Dr Osei Darkwa, on Tuesday made a strong case for the establishment of an open and distance learning (ODL) tertiary educational institution in the country where students and lecturers would interact through information, communication and technology.
He said the time had come for the immediate establishment of a National Open University of Ghana (NOUG) that would make tertiary education accessible to the teeming number of people, without any pressure on physical educational infrastructure.
“These features of the world's open universities aim to open the world of higher education to all, irrespective of age, sex, place of residence or occupation, in order to enable every individual to realise his or her academic ability,” he said.
Speaking at a symposium on “Increasing the Utilisation of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) in Tertiary Education,” at the 59th New Year School of the Institute of Adult Education (IAE) of the University of Ghana, Legon, Dr Darkwa said the justification for the establishment of NOUG was clear.
Primarily, he pointed out that the Educational Reform Committee that was chaired by Prof. Jophus Anamuah-Mensah, in its report, made a strong recommendation for the establishment of the Ghana Open University.
Coupled with that, the President, Mr J.A. Kufuor endorsed suggestions for the expansion of tertiary education and the proposed Open University in the report.
Giving the advantages of such a tertiary institution in the country, Dr Darkwa said the current university system could accommodate only about 30 per cent of all qualified applicants.
Linked to that was the fact that those from remote towns and villages had to leave their communities for cities where tertiary institutions were situated.
With the Open University, the consolidation of student population at a given place or time would not be necessary, he pointed out.
Dr Darkwa said money for physical infrastructural development could be spent on improving and expanding Internet infrastructure to enable students anywhere in the country access rich educational resources.
The Director of the ICT Directorate of the University of Ghana (UG), Legon, Mr Emmanuel Owusu-Oware, in his presentation, advocated an ICT leadership at national and educational institutions to move the technology from a notion to practicality.
He proposed an ICT committee with top level management making up its membership in all governmental and educational institutions.
Among other things, he pointed out that such a committee would help bridge the existing gap in the mainstream of the technology, educators and policy directives.
He said there was the need for educational institutions to have the basic capacity to access, exchange and use basic information, and that required an increase in the computer student ration, which now stood at a computer to every 30 students at the UG compared with a computer to four students in Singapore.
The Chairperson for the symposium, Ms Dorothy K. Gordon, said education was an important dimension of capacity building, as human resources were a nation's true wealth in driving economic and social development.
In line with that, she said the country needed to reorganise its tertiary education so that innovative and cross-disciplinary teaching and learning would be promoted to enable graduates think “in terms of solutions rather than how best they can explain the problem”.
DAILY GRAPHIC, JANUARY 11, 2008