In a bid to get more students enrolled into the tertiary level, Lancaster University Ghana has inaugurated its new campus in Tantra Hill, Accra.
The new campus which has the capacity to take 3000 students and 300 staff boasts of facilities such as smart classrooms, on-site hostel accommodation for students, multi-purpose sports complex, and a cafeteria.
Speaking at the inauguration, the Co-founder, Transnational Academic Group (TAG) Ghana Ltd and Lancaster University Ghana, Mr Rakesh Wahi, said TAG had established a strong presence by bringing the first British University Campus to Ghana.
He said as the group continues to build on the programme offerings of its academic partner, Lancaster University, it was also taking steps towards building capacity in additional vocations.
He said the group was also developing its own curriculum as well as bringing in other partners who could help fill the gaps in the current offerings and the market demand.
He noted that the university considered STEM education, specifically computer sciences, healthcare, nursing and hospitality as significant short term developments in its product offering.
“These initiatives will be backed by other higher education campus developments in Nigeria, East Africa and South Africa,” he said.
Mr Wahi said the decision of the university to move to Tantra Hill would have a significant impact on the future of the municipality.
“The multiplying impact of an educational establishment with young adults with purchasing power is significant. As this campus builds to a capacity of 3000 students and 300 staff, the economic impact to this cluster will be significant on retail, public transportation, banking, sports, restaurants, entertainment and other allied services.
“With 50 per cent to 60 per cent of students coming from outside of Ghana, TAG will be a valuable export earner not just from the revenue to TAG but also for hostels and other services,” he stated.
He said the TAG management and staff, both in Ghana and Dubai, have been instrumental in not only facilitating the move to Tantra Hill but also for getting the business to where it is today.
“I commend you on your hard work and commitment, particularly through the uncertainties created by the pandemic,” he said.
Private sector participation
The Director General of the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission, Professor Mohammed Salifu, also speaking at the inauguration said the government had developed a new strategy aimed at encouraging private sector participation in the delivery of tertiary education in the country.
As part of the strategy, he said the government had decided to provide some incentives to the private sector operators.
He said the President has charged the commission to increase the country’s gross tertiary enrolment to 40 per cent by 2030 and in order to achieve this, the commission needs the private sector providers on board.
“So there is a strategy now to encourage private sector participation by providing certain incentives to the private sector operators. We looking at creating the enabling environment for a lot more of the private sector to get involved. We want to grow the share of enrolment in the private sector which is about 15 to 20 per cent,” he stated.
Prof Salifu said the government had also done some reforms aimed at making it easier for the private sector to participate.
He said unlike previously, where private universities required a minimum of ten years of operation to receive a charter; private universities now just needed between four to six years to demonstrate their capabilities to become chartered.
“Every private sector institution which is a tertiary education service provider now has between four to six years to demonstrate their capabilities to stand on your own as an independent university.
“We have also scrapped the affiliation and there is no longer a requirement for you to be affiliated to an existing university to be given approval to run tertiary education programmes,” he stated.
He said these reforms had taken a huge burden off the private sector providers.
He noted that the new tertiary education landscape was intended to embrace the private sector as an integral part of what the government wants to achieve.
“So we don’t see the private sector interventions as just additional, but integral to the overall strategy for delivering tertiary education in the country,” he said.