The Ministry of Education has expressed concern over the influx of foreign and private universities that run mostly arts and business courses, which are not what the nation needs now.
A deputy minister of Education, Mr Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, noted that though graduate studies and research was crucial to the nation’s development, courses offered should be relevant in accelerating national development.
He was speaking at a two-session congregation for postgraduate students at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) over the weekend.
For the first time, the university turned out a total of 3,226 graduate students in one single academic year.
The figure included 23 Ph.Ds, 381 Master of Philosophy/Master of Commerce and 2,510 Masters degrees by course work and 184 post-graduate diplomas.
Mr Okudzeto-Ablakwa said the Ministry of Education and the National Council for Tertiary Education were working to streamline the activities of the many private universities, including both local and foreign, to ensure they offered courses relevant to the nation’s manpower needs.
He noted that many of the new universities were introducing courses in the business and arts, although the nation already had enough of those courses.
The deputy minister said the country had a 70-30 ratio policy on science and arts/business courses respectively, noting that that ratio was not met even in the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).
The Vice Chancellor of UCC, Professor Dominic Kuupole, explained that the huge number of graduate students conferred with degrees was made possible with the introduction of the step-down policy.
He explained that over the years the university had realized a lot of postgraduate students were unable to graduate because of a delay in their dissertation.
Professor Kuupole said the university introduced the step-down policy to offer those students the master’s degree by course work.
The offer, he indicated, was on condition that the student had satisfied the course work component for the degree and had applied in writing to the university.
With this, many postgraduate students, including those who have been on their programmes of study for more than six years, were able to graduate.
Some of the graduates said they were grateful for the policy, considering the fact that their dissertation had kept them on their respective programmes for well over six years.
Prof. Kuupole said though graduate studies and research remained a crucial aspect to developing the requisite manpower for national development, the challenges of graduate education remained enormous at the university. He, therefore, called for support for graduate studies.
He charged the graduates to effect change and work to remove corruption from the system.
Mr Okudzeto stated that the government was committed to instituting the research fund to support research in tertiary institutions.
A former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Clifford Tagoe, stated that every nation required research to help refine indigenous technology for the nation’s development.