Wa, Navrongo campuses of UDS to be autonomous

BY: Mohammed Fugu
 President Akufo-Addo gives a prize to the overall best graduating student of the 2017-2018 academic year
President Akufo-Addo gives a prize to the overall best graduating student of the 2017-2018 academic year

The Cabinet has given approval for the Wa and the Navrongo campuses of the University for Development Studies (UDS) to be autonomous, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said.

 Addressing the Silver Jubilee celebration and 19th Congregation of the UDS in Tamale last Saturday, President Akufo-Addo said the Wa Campus of the UDS would be known as the University of Business Integrated Development Studies, while the Navrongo Campus would be referred to as the University of Technology and Applied Sciences.

He said the bills to regularise the autonomy of the two universities were with the Attorney-General’s Department before they would be sent to Parliament for ratification.

A total of 5,766 students, comprising 5,600 diplomates and graduates, 162 postgraduates and two doctorate (Ph.D) students, after completing various programmes at the university, graduated this year.

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President Akufo-Addo commended successive governing councils, vice-chancellors, managements, teaching and non-teaching staff of the UDS for uplifting the status of the university.

He said the UDS was no longer the university of last resort, as it had been in the past, but had become one of the best tertiary institutions in the country.

He said the UDS was established to provide a special kind of education that combined theory with practice, resulting in the creation of its community engagement programmes, such as the Third Trimester Field Practical Programme (TTFPP) and Problem-Based Learning (PBL).

Those programmes, he explained, continued to offer students the opportunity to spend time in rural communities across the Upper East, Upper West, Northern, Brong Ahafo, Ashanti and Volta regions and to put to practice what had been taught in the lecture rooms.

“Indeed, the influence of students from the School of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences continues to be felt in the health delivery system of especially the Northern, Upper
East and Upper West regions where, unfortunately, over the years most hospitals and clinics have had only one resident medical doctor. The UDS has been of great benefit to society and the nation is grateful to you,” he added.

President Akufo-Addo said those examples symbolised the strong correlation that existed between the attainment of education and its effects on a nation’s development.

Field reports

He urged the authorities of the UDS to share the reports of its TTFPP of students with district assemblies in the catchment area, saying that was the only way the country could feel the effect of practical tertiary education on society.

“I am hereby also directing, through the Ministry of Local Government, the affected assemblies to contact the university for the field reports to incorporate them into their policy analysis and proposals,” he added.

President Akufo-Addo assured the authorities of the UDS that the university would receive the support of the government towards addressing its needs.

He expressed the government’s resolve to retool the UDS to become a centre of excellence that would continue to produce graduates with the requisite entrepreneurial skills to contribute significantly to national development.

In that regard, he said, the government, through the Ministry of Education, was working around the clock to construct modern multipurpose lecture halls for the university.

One of the most important immediate challenges which would confront the UDS and other universities, he said, would be the dramatically increased number of students who would seek admission in some two years as a result of the implementation of the free senior high school (SHS) policy.

“I urge you, vice-chancellor, and all heads of our tertiary institutions to begin making adequate preparations towards this and future years.

“I wish to assure you of the government’s steadfast commitment to initiate policies and programmes in our universities to enhance the capacity of graduates from our tertiary institutions to contribute to the socio-economic transformation of the country,” he added.

The Vice-Chancellor of the UDS, Professor Gabriel Ayum Teye, commended the government for its continued support towards the transformation of the university.