Open Universities to drive tertiary enrolment up to 40%

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Director General-GTEC, Prof. Mohammed Salifu

Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC) is optimistic that Open Universities and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) will propel the nation to achieve its target of enrolling 40 percent of its populace into tertiary institutions.

Currently, the enrolment drive for tertiary education stands at 20 percent – which is woefully inadequate.

In pursuance of this, the Ghana Tertiary Education Policy has provided a broad framework for stratified action by stakeholders to facilitate full access to the enormous prospects digitised higher education provides.

Director of Accreditation and Quality Assurance of the Commission, John Dadzie-Mensah, said this when delivering a speech on the theme ‘Transforming Higher Education Through Digitalisation: Prospects and Challenges’ on behalf of the Director General-GTEC, Prof. Mohammed Salifu, at the 14th graduation ceremony of the Garden City University College (GCUC) in Kumasi.

“The policy, among others, directs the establishment of a Ghana Open University as a special purpose vehicle for improving the nation’s gross enrolment ratio, which now stands at 20 percent. The nation targets moving this up to 40 percent by 2030.  The Open University concept will make it possible for every Ghanaian to sign up for university education.

“Suffice it to say that if the intended purpose of the candidate is to graduate with a university degree, then some foundation courses in that system will have to be passed to become eligible as an undergraduate student of the system,” he said.

“If the purpose for signing onto the programme is simply for continuous professional development and not necessarily toward the attainment of a university degree, then one can just go in there to have a taste of university education.

“The Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS) isan alternative to the Open University concept for those who simply want to acquire higher education for developing and/or sharpening a particular skill for advancing their vocation in continuous professional development,” he noted.

On the strides made in regard to the development of institutional capacity in Information Communication Technology (ICT), Mr. Dadzie-Mensah noted that even though students and teachers are doing their best, the Ghana Tertiary Education Policy has identified some challenges.

“Students and teachers need to keep pace with developments in the ICT sector. Developments such as the introduction of new software for teaching, learning and research, the fast-growing technology-mediated distance learning and expanding application of ICT to almost every life situation demand matching ICT skill development to prepare both subject and non-subject graduates adequately for the job market.

“Factors such as inadequate ICT infrastructure, inadequate ICT equipment in some tertiary education institutions, and inadequate qualified teachers with terminal qualifications in the field have slowed down postgraduate training in ICT and related fields such as Computer Science,” he highlighted.

Acting President-GCUC, Nana Kwaku Owusu-Kwarteng, congratulated the 1,626 graduates – 362 males and 1,264 females – for their resolve to go through the four-year mandate even though COVID-19 set in at a point of their educational calendar.

“Your tenacity and focus were highlighted during and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdown and afterwards; when your group braved it through the ‘new normal’ of blended virtual learning with its unique challenges. Scaling that hurdle testifies to the ‘unique and special steel within your group’.”

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