Education, especially at the tertiary level, can be one of Ghana’s main exports to the West African sub-region if a conscious effort is made to sell it on the back of better-quality standards and political stability the country enjoys, President of Academic City College, Dr. Fred McBagonluri, has said.
Already, a lot of parents in West and Central African countries are choosing Ghanaian education over that of the United States and United Kingdom because of factors such as cost and proximity, among others.
Dr. McBagonluri said: “Areas like Mali and Nigeria are caught up in all these internal battles. So, parents in those countries are looking for countries close by, whereby they can still monitor their children”.
The sub-region, he added, also believes that Ghana has a strong educational system and the cost is pretty reasonable.
“So, parents also try to weigh between sending their children to the United States or UK – which is a bit more expensive compared to their children getting an equally quality education in Ghana. So, I think there is some confidence in our education which we can actually optimise to our advantage.”
Dr. McBagonluri spoke to the B&FT on the sidelines of an event to award a US$40,000 scholarship to a first-year student of the school by MainOne Ghana, in Accra.
To take full advantage of the situation, he said, it is important the country institutes measures which encourage more foreign students into Ghanaian universities.
In addition, he said the National Accreditation Board has to look at the regulatory framework; adding that in Nigeria, for instance, elective mathematics is not a requirement for getting into an engineering school but it is in Ghana – which, according to him, does not make any sense because the first two years of engineering is mathematics-intensive.
“So, if we were to even remove that basic requirement, you would see how many Nigerian students troop into Ghana.
“Some parents often worry about affiliations. They don’t understand the affiliation system; they don’t understand why new private universities have to be affiliated to a government institution for a certain period. I think now is the time to cancel the affiliation and allow fresh institutions that are starting up to award their own degrees – the same way that government is able to start universities which do not even possess infrastructure but have full university status,” he advocated.
US$40,000 MainOne scholarship
The US$40,000 scholarship was awarded to Elizabeth Fio, a first-year engineering student at Academic City College, by Internet service provider MainOne Ghana as part of its corporate social responsibility and commitment to supporting communities in which it operates.
“As a business, we are committed to supporting communities where we work, and Ghana has always been a major market for us. We will continue to focus on growing our infrastructure and services as well as supporting local entrepreneurship and capacity, which are all key to development,” said MainOne’s Regional Executive for West Africa, Kazeem Oladepo.
“We believe in the vision of Academic City College, and it has been one of our partners for some time now. The other thing is that we see a lot of potential in Elizabeth,” he added.
Aside from the scholarship, Mr. Oladepo noted that MainOne has over the years been providing incubators and start-ups in Ghana with Internet connectivity.
President of the school, Dr. McBagonluri, said the gesture will go a long way to help Elizabeth realise her dream of becoming an engineer.
An elated Elizabeth Fio said: “I feel very excited because this scholarship has helped me come to Academic City and study Mechanical Engineering; it gives me an opportunity to explore different areas and to improve at one of the best universities in the country”.