President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called on the governing council of the University for Development Studies (UDS) to revisit an earlier proposal made to name the university after the late former President J.J Rawlings.
“If Rawlings’ own sense of modesty probably compelled him to decline such a proposal while he was alive, let the people’s voice now prevail in his passing to enable us put on record the J.J Rawlings University of Development Studies,” he said, adding that it is the establishment of UDS that has today paved the way for three autonomous universities and three technical universities in the Northern, Upper East and West Regions of Ghana, he added.
The president announced this at the 21st Congregation of UDS held in Tamale on Saturday, where a total of 4,683 students graduated with various undergraduate and graduate degrees.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic safety protocols and related measures put in place, only the first class graduates were allowed at the ceremony with other participants joining virtually. The graduates comprised 1,195 diploma students; 2,673 Bachelors’ degree students and 173 graduate students, six of which were PhDs.
According to the president, UDS has been a preferred place for higher education in the country, and therefore he commended the governing council and management for producing quality human resources for national development. He commended the late former President Rawlings’ decision to use the US$50,000 he received as the World Food Prize in 1993 as seed money to fund establishment of the university that has churned out industry-leading human resources for national development.
President Akufo-Addo noted that the pandemic hit the world during the course of 2019/2020, disrupting the academic calendar and programmes of all educational institutions. “This further impacted the progress of continuing students – yet UDS, like the other universities in the country, used the digital system to provide tuition for students and arranged final-year students to write their exams, enabling them graduate,” he added.
He therefore called for enhanced use of technology to deliver blended learning at the various institutions. “In the immediate to medium-term, Ghana is collaborating with Open University in the UK to deploy distance learning programmes for all universities – which involves licencing content, technical assistance, capacity building and advice from the university,” he said.
He explained that in the medium- to long-term, the Ministry of Education is working on a national digital literacy project for both teachers and students.
Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Gabriel Ayum Teye, said the university is set to introduce market-driven programmes that address the critical human resource needs of the country.
He stated that new faculties and schools have been created: namely the School of Public Health, School of Dentistry, School of Nursing and Midwifery, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and School of Veterinary Sciences. The others are the Faculty of Sustainable Development, Faculty of Biosciences, Faculty of Physical Sciences and Faculty of Law. He noted the university has established 19 satellite campuses as a means of contributing to quality education delivery in the country.