Over the past 70 plus years and despite being the premier University, UG has struggled to maintain classroom infrastructure to match the exponential growth in its student population. This challenge appears to be primarily driven by the fact that UG is predominantly dependent on Government of Ghana (GoG), through GETFund for infrastructure support. This has over the years proven burdensome for the GETFund on account of the increasing number of public universities and the other academic institutions across the country. The cap on student fees by GoG also plays a role in placing financial constraints on UG with regard to its ability to generate sufficient Internally Generated Funds (IGF) for such purposes.
The astronomical surge in student population in the last few years has been driven by the dynamics of the senior high school (SHS) system, including the free SHS policy of the government. This free policy has resulted in increased enrollment in the second cycle institutions and ultimately fed into public tertiary institutions like the University of Ghana.
In addition to the student population growth, the emergence of the coronavirus and the eventual shutdown of the University as a countermeasure to limit the contagion also served to reveal the paucity of UG’s classroom infrastructure to facilitate a seamless transitioning of lectures to the online mode.
It is in the light of the above that the Management of the University of Ghana has set for itself the task of expanding and modernising the classroom infrastructure, via the fullest integration of technology, to allow UG to pursue its agenda of delivering excellence in teaching and learning while making its degrees and other academic qualifications accessible to all willing and qualified candidates within and without the borders of Ghana.
The Management of the University of Ghana has put together a committee, under the Office of the Pro-Vice Chancellor (Academic and Student Affairs) to spearhead the expansion and modernisation of classrooms to enhance the delivery of teaching and learning services offered by the University. The proposed expansion and modernisation solution involves the construction, refurbishment, and installation of information technology (ICT) equipment and gadgets and an integration into the UG Learning Management System to allow for both synchronous and asynchronous virtual learning to take place as required. It will also create an appropriate learning environment for face-to-face lectures and allow for off-site learning and examinations to manage the large student population. Equitable support will also be provided through this initiative to enable differently-abled students fully participate in teaching and learning activities.
The University has committed GH₵ 5,500,000.00 from its internally generated revenue to fund the first phase of the Classroom Modernisation project which is currently ongoing, including expansion of internet connectivity and provision of basic ICT facilities in selected lecture rooms across the University’s campuses. The first phase is also being supported by the University’s three World Bank African Centres of Excellence (ACEs), namely, West African Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP) and West African Genetic Medicine Centre (WAGMC), as well as the Centre for Teaching and Learning Innovation (CTLI). However, the University is now seeking corporate partnerships to expand and enhance this initiative by upgrading more lecture rooms with modern pedagogical facilities that would transform both the student and lecturer experience. The cost for upgrading each classroom ranges from GH₵ 487,500 - 1,275,000 per classroom/lecture hall depending on the size of the classroom/lecture hall, renovations needed and equipment to be installed. Partners are invited to choose individual classrooms or entire blocks to fund and be recognised accordingly.