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Radford University College expands infrastructure ; To absorb products of free SHS in 2020

BY: Kwame Asare Boadu
 The new lecture building. Inset: Nana Dwomoh Sarpong
The new lecture building. Inset: Nana Dwomoh Sarpong

Radford University College, a private institution in Accra, is expanding infrastructure to increase access to students seeking higher education and improve teaching and learning.

The investment also has a special focus on the anticipated high number of products of the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy who will be entering the universities from 2020.

Alongside infrastructure expansion, the university college will also recruit additional qualified academic and administrative staff in furtherance of the institution's target to strengthen its position as a university of choice.

The Executive Chairman of the university college, Nana Dwomoh Sarpong, who made this known when he took the Daily Graphic round a seven-storey state-of-the-art lecture building at the campus at East Legon last Saturday, said, "We are planning ahead."

The edifice has lecture halls, offices, an incubation centre, elevators, a fire hydrant that runs through the building and a basement car park, among other facilities.

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Dwindling enrolment

For some time now, some private universities have complained about dwindling enrolment as a result of unfair competition from the public universities and lack of support from the government.

But the Ministry of Education had challenged the private universities to reposition themselves to take advantage of the huge number of students that would be coming out of the free SHS.

The ministry has estimated that about 145,000 SHS graduates will be seeking admission into tertiary institutions in 2020. The figure will be an increase of 55,000 over the current admission of 90,000 into tertiary institutions..

"In about a year's time, the first batch of free SHS students will come out and we are positioning ourselves to be able to absorb a good number of them," Nana Sarpong said.

Academic programmes

The executive chairman was not oblivious of the fact that programmes of study were key in attracting students to an institution.

Against that background, he stated that Radford was introducing new academic programmes at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, which were relevant to the time.

 The new lecture building. Inset: Nana Dwomoh Sarpong

Among the programmes are Bachelor of Laws (LL. B) , which is to be ran with Radford's mentor institution, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Facility Management and Event Management.

Entrepreneurship

Nana Sarpong said the university college had a vision to produce graduates who would create jobs rather than look up to the government for employment.

In view of that, the study of entrepreneurship occupies centre stage on the academic calendar.

"The job market is our focus. We are happy our graduates are doing well not only in Ghana but in other countries. We have a programme called catch them young. We want to develop entrepreneurs at the youngest levels," he said.

'Support private universities'

Nana Sarpong described 2019 as "a promising year" but stressed the need for the government to support students who attended private universities as was being done to those in public universities.

He further called on the government to extend the research fund to lecturers in the private universities.

"We [private universities] are supporting the economy through employment openings, taxes and other things contrary to what some people perceive about the private universities.

Basically, we are not in for money but what we are doing to support the economy is enormous," he said.