The University of Education, Winneba (UEW) will admit 7,500 fresh students for the 2013/2014 academic year.
The number, which is an increase of about 50 per cent of its intake into its regular programmes, has become necessary because of the two groups of final-year students in senior high schools who are writing this year’s West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
About 409,753 candidates are writing the examination countrywide.
As part of its preparation for the expected intake, the UEW has completed the construction of three hostels, one each on its campuses in Kumasi, Mampong and Winneba.
The university has also completed the construction of two faculty buildings, one each on its Kumasi and Winneba campuses.
It is also renovating a number of old structures to increase office space, accommodation for students and classroom and laboratory/workshop space for academic work.
The Vice-Chancellor of the UEW, Professor Akwasi Asabere-Ameyaw, made this known at the 17th congregation of the university in Winneba on Saturday.
He appealed to the government to support the university to furnish and equip the facilities with the relevant materials for the university to prepare adequately for the expected large intake of fresh students at the beginning of the 2013/2014 academic year.
A total of 11,038 distance education students graduated.
Out of the number, 4,803, representing 43.52 per cent, were males, while 6,233, representing 56.48 per cent, were females. One thousand four hundred and sixty-six of the students were awarded diplomas, while 9,570 were awarded Bachelor of Education degrees.
At the same ceremony, 129 students, made up of 77 males and 52 females, were awarded postgraduate diplomas, while 115 received master’s degrees.
One graduate was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree.
Prof. Asabere-Ameyaw said the university continued to invest considerably in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to enhance teaching and learning and had set up an ICT improvement committee to augment the work of the ICT Department.
He said all the campuses of the UEW were connected to the university-wide network with access to the Internet, while 20 distance education centres were also connected to the network.
He said about 16,000 distance education students had been provided with SIM cards from Vodafone for them to communicate with one another at a relatively cheaper cost.
Prof. Asabere-Ameyaw said the university was making use of ICT in its distance education programme to make it easier for beneficiaries to study and commended its partners and all those who had supported the programme.
President John Dramani Mahama, in a speech read on his behalf by the Executive Secretary of the National Accreditation Board (NAB), Mr Kwame Dartey, said education was one of the few sustainable means to equip people around the world with skills and resources to confront the challenges of ignorance, poverty, war and environmental degradation.
He said since conventional universities and residential modes of higher education delivery had proved incapable of meeting the increasing demand for greater educational opportunities, accessibility and affordability, distance education had now become the most powerful tool of extending the resource and making it accessible to all.
The Chancellor of the UEW, Alhaji (Dr) Asoma Abu Banda, appealed to striking lecturers to rescind their decision and return to the lecture rooms, while discussions with all stakeholders continued for an amicable solution to their grievances.
He pledged to consult all chancellors of the public universities to make an input into the ongoing discussions to resolve the impasse.
The Chairman of the University Council, Dr Emmanuel Kenneth Andoh, expressed regret that many graduates remained unemployed, while many of the country’s schools had no qualified teachers.
Dr Andoh, also known as Okofo Amoako Bondam III, the Omanhene of the Enyan-Maim Traditional Area, said the country must benefit from the huge investment it made in financing and training many graduate teachers.
“It does not make any economic sense to continue to spend huge sums of money in training them and not use them for the purpose for which they were trained,” he said.
Dr Andoh called on the Minister of Education to take the appropriate action to address the situation.
Story: Joe Okyere