UPSA to blend online, face-to-face teaching and learning

BY: Emmanuel Bonney
• Professor Abednego F. Okoe Amartey

The Management of the University for Professional Studies (UPSA) says it will blend online and face-to-face teaching and learning for the 2020-2021 academic year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It said for the first six weeks, there will be in-person or face to face teaching with double contact hours per week and that this would be followed by another six weeks of on-line or virtual teaching.

“There will, of course, be one week of revision. Thus, the 13th week would be devoted to revision.

“The end of semester examinations will largely be held in-person with examinations for some few courses taken on-line or as take-home assignments,” the Vice Chancellor of the UPSA, Professor Abednego F. Okoe Amartey, said at the School of Graduate Studies Matriculation Ceremony recently.

The students comprised the first batch of students who have been enrolled in the Master of Science in Insurance Risk Management Programme after having received accreditation to mount the programme last year.

Challenges

Studying during COVID-19 times, Prof. Amartey said, presented its set of challenges with the most critical being managing academic activities safely amid the growing threat of the pandemic.

“Health experts are constantly warning us of a second wave of the virus in our part of the world. This development undoubtedly portends a possible disruption of academic work, if care is not taken. To this end, I would like to add my voice to the call on all of us to play our part in the fight against the virus by adhering to all the COVID-19 prevention protocols, that is, wearing of masks, social distancing and frequent hand washing or sanitising,” he said.

He said the UPSA had been selected as one of the 13 public tertiary institutions to benefit from the Government of Ghana’s Free WiFi Project in the amount of US$ 514,545.45 for the improvement of campus Internet connectivity.

“This project comes at an opportune time when online teaching and learning has become the order of the day in the wake of the pandemic. I am happy to inform you that Electricity Company Ghana (ECG) has already started executing the project on the USA campus,” he said.

Admissions

The university,the vice chancellor said, received a total of 1,288 postgraduate applications for the 2020/2021 academic year.

He said at the end of the admission process, a total of 1,212 applicants were offered admission and that the total number of registered postgraduate fresh students stood at 883.

The number, he said, included 25 PhD students, 31 MPhil students, 658 MBA students, 143 MA/MSc students and 26 MBA (by Distance Learning) students.

“The postgraduate registered fresh students comprise 508 males and 375 females. The above statistics bring the male to female ratio of total number of registered postgraduate fresh students to 6:4 for the 2020/2021 academic year. This year’s intake represents about 26.87 per cent increase over that of the previous year,” he said.

New programmes

Prof. Amartey said the university had received approval for the introduction of the Master of Science in Procurement Management programme, and expected to enrol students in the programme next academic year.

In spite of all the challenges brought about by the pandemic, he said all the new infrastructural development projects initiated in 2019 were progressing according to schedule.

He said they included the two hostel buildings — which would both house 812 students — and the multipurpose, twin tower building, which would comprise commercial, office and lecture rooms.

“There is also shortage of accommodation for our graduate students, leaving many of you at the mercy of private hostel owners. We understand the specific needs of our graduate students, and I am happy to inform you that the university has purchased property behind this auditorium, which will be converted into a postgraduate hostel”.