Instead of always waiting on industry to take the first step, academia must initiate the process towards bridging the much-talked about gap that exists between the two economically interlinked sides, Prof. Joshua Yindenaba Abor, Dean of the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS) has said.
Whilst conceding that a lot has been done on how the two sides can collaborate better, he said was high time universities in the country took aggressive steps to narrow the gulf between what happens in the classroom and the world of work.
“As a business school, we cannot operate in isolation; business schools exist to collaborate with the business world. We don’t just teach theory, but you demonstrate to students how the theory can be applied in a real-life situation,” he told the B&FT at the opening of a library at the graduate school of the UGBS funded by Tullow Oil.
Asked if corporate Ghana is doing enough to support academia, he said: “A lot can be done; most organisations are doing their best, but I think we as academia also need to move beyond the borders and boundaries of university life to engage more with corporate Ghana. Sometimes, when you talk to them [corporate bodies], they say ‘we don’t see the universities coming to us’.
The University of Ghana is doing its best in terms of getting its research out there, but there is a lot more we could do; I don’t think we are there yet,” he observed.
Effective partnership between academia and industry, he said, will not only inure to the benefit of the two, but also the national and global economy.
“We need such partnerships and engagements to be able to model our teaching to make our lectures and research very relevant to inform business decisions, as well as national policy making.
So, stakeholders like businesses are extremely important in the life of a business school, and as you can see, Tullow is prepared to work with the Business School to achieve and foster this collaboration and engagement. I think the role Tullow is playing in that regard is extremely important.
Beyond the business school, they are also helping other units within the University of Ghana and other institutions outside the university,” he added.
As part of measures to position the university to offer programmes that reflect changing business trends and emerging sectors like oil and gas, the Dean further disclosed that plans were far advanced to introduce new programmes.
“I know of a number of units within the universities that are coming up with programmes that are related to energy, oil and gas sector – the Department of Earth Sciences is doing that.
The Business School currently has a course in Msc. in Accounting called Oil and Gas Accounting and Finance. We are also coming up with a new programme in global EMBA that will have a course in oil and gas management. So, we are beginning to revise our course to reflect the changing trends in some of the emerging sectors to ultimately improve upon human resource capital,” he stated.
The Tullow Oil funded Library
The US$120,000 library is located within the UGBS Graduate building and comes with state of the art facilities, including a librarian boot; furniture and computer equipment; books; and a lounge, nicknamed Tullow Corner, stocked with digital devices for students.
The facility occupies two floors within the building and can accommodate a huge number of students, at a time.
Managing Director of Tullow Ghana Limited, Charles Darku, said his outfit is passionate about leaving its footprints in indigenous tertiary institutions, such as the University of Ghana.
“By refurbishing this library, we play a role in developing world-class human resources and progress Tullow Ghana’s commitment to local content development and localisation; after all, investments in shared infrastructure, technology and human capital are necessary for long-term and make good business sense. “
He further charged students and management to take good care of the facility, adding: “Tullow Ghana hopes this library will meet the needs of the modern business, academic or executive, using cutting-edge information technology to acquire knowledge.”