The Inaugural Meeting of the University of Ghana Visitation Panel has taken place at the Legon Campus at the R.S. Amegashie Auditorium.
In his opening remarks, the Chairman of Council, Mr. Anthony Oteng-Gyasi said that the University Council called for a visitation in the light of revelations pointing out to some systemic weaknesses in the administration of the University following the examination related malpractices during the 2004/5 academic year.
The visitation panel whose remit is to review the academic programmes to determine their currency, quality and relevance to the mission of creating world-class human resources and capabilities to meet national development needs, will also review the infrastructure and resources currently in place and will advise on additional resources required to enable the University adequately discharge its mandate to an internationally acceptable standard. Similarly, it will review the University’s administrative and governance structures, its systems and procedures and advise on their appropriateness and adequacy in relation to the twin goals of effectiveness and efficiency.
The Visitation Panel is made up of an eminent team of well-known Ghanaians and academics, experts and institutional leaders from six countries: Ghana, India, Jamaica, Nigeria, United Kingdom and the USA who are serving on in their personal capacities. UNESCO and the Commonwealth of Learning are also assisting the process through the participation of their officials. The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. C.N.B. Tagoe, who introduced members of the panel, noted that the choice of business men in the team was to help the University interface with external publics, such as industry and commerce.
In his remarks, Sir John Daniel, President of the Commonwealth of Learning and Chairman of the Visitation Panel, noted that their task “is to help the University organise itself for the future. Although that future will present an ever-changing environment, the University’s mission expresses aspirations that are valid for any future.”
Emeritus Professor J.H. Kwabena Nketia, a former Director of the Institute of African Studies, delivered the keynote address. He noted that a “University in Africa must develop and maintain different profiles concurrently: It must build and sustain its African profile as a centre of gravity for both academic and practical training in African cultural studies, as well as its international profile as an institution that contributes to other disciplines from its own perspective, concluding that as an academic institution, the University must never abrogate its primary commitment to the pursuit of truth or the advancement of learning even when development needs of the country call for a particular focus on the process of producing so-called world class human resources as a matter of expediency.”
Mrs. Mary Adusei-Herbstein, an industrialist who also presented a paper, “Thoughts of an Alumna” commended the University for setting up the visitation. She noted that it was important to conduct research into government policy and its impact on industry prior to implementation.
The Inaugural Meeting was attended by Members of the University Council, officials, past Vice-Chancellors, Professor Alex Kwapong, Prof. Daniel Adzei Bekoe, Prof. George Benneh and Professor Ivan Addae-Mensah, members of Convocation, alumni, friends and students of the University.
The Visitation Panel has as its Chairman, Sir John Daniel, former Vice-Chancellor of the Open University, United Kingdom, now President and Chief Executive of the Commonwealth of Learning, Vancouver, Canada. Professor Akilagpa Sawyerr, now Secretary-General of the Association of African Universities and former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana is the Vice-Chairman.
Other members of the team are: Professor Bernard King, CBE, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, University of Abertay, Dundee, Scotland, Professor Joseph Nellis, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Cranfield University, U.K., Professor Marlene Annette Hamilton, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica, Professor Uday B. Desai, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India, Professor A.O. Falase, Immediate Past Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Nigeria, Mr. Robert Ahomka Lindsay, CEO, Ghana Investments Promotion Council, and Vice-President, Corporate Affairs, Coca Cola Africa, Mr. Ato Ampiah, CEO.
Crystal Auto Ltd., and former Managing Director, Toyota Ghana Ltd., Professor Emerita Kathleen Wicker, Cripps College, California, USA, Professor Emmanuel Akyeampong, Professor of African-American Studies, Harvard University, Professor Michael Shattock, Professor of Higher Education, Institute of Education, University of London and former Registrar, Warwick University, U.K., Ms. Stamenka Uvaliæ-Trumbiæ, Chief, Section for Reform, Innovation and Quality Higher Education Division, UNESCO, Prof. Daryl Lund, Emeritus Professor, University of Wisconsin, Professor Marian E. Addy, Retired Professor of Biochemistry, University of Ghana, and Professor Emeritus E.Q. Archampong, Former Dean, University of Ghana Medical School.
In the parlance of academia, a visitation is a familiar process of review whereby Universities invite colleague academics from other Universities and institutions to visit, examine and comment on structures, resources, programmes and other activities and make appropriate recommendations to the University’s governing body with a view to ensuring progress and improvement. In the almost 60 years of its existence of the University of Ghana, this is the second time a comprehensive review is being undertaken.
The last comprehensive review took place in 1961.