7 December 2012

Ghana: GTUC Students Advised to Contribute to Social Change

THE IMMEDIATE past Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast, Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang has advised graduands at the Ghana Technology University College (GTUC) to be content with small beginnings.

She said the graduands would have to anticipate and effectively respond to societal changes, take calculated risks, initiative and responsibility, while increasing their capacity for active citizenship.

"Even as you explore your impulses and values for a better life, provide service to others with your country and humanity in mind", she stated.

She was addressing graduates at the 4th congregation of the GTUC in Accra on Saturday, where 427 students graduated, including 145 post graduate students and 282 undergraduates, from various programmes.

According to her, young people face uncertain futures, especially with the global economy showing slow growth, while the demography of the nations also show a fast growth in youth population.

She said the situation is such that most economies have little hope in keeping pace with the traditional job requirements of a growing population, stressing "These have some serious repercussions for us all."

In her view, unemployment and its attendant frustrations put the youth at risk, deepen alienation and loosen social cohesion.

To address the problem, "self employment and entrepreneurship become viable options", she noted. She added that leaders have to go beyond telling the youth to create jobs and employ others, and move towards providing the context and atmosphere that make such creativity possible.

Also, part of the solution lies in the mindset that engenders self confidence and unbridled belief to succeed in whatever one decides to do, to translate dreams from possibilities to realities, she noted.

"You have something, identify it, strategize and put in effort to achieve it. Don't be satisfied with mediocrity. What you identify should be legally and morally right", she urged them.

Furthermore, she said the 21st Century carried with it problems of the 20th Century, such as under five death from malaria, diseases like tuberculosis, cardio-vascular, cancer and HIV/AIDS among others, that still plague African countries in particular.

She lamented that "we came into the twentieth century still clothed in unacceptable levels of deprivation of the basic needs of life that persist in the midst of plenty", thus, "we all have a role to play to improve life."

She pointed out that pressure on the President has been great in terms of demand and high expectations such that graduates demand jobs immediately after school while parents are usually not amused when their wards return home after school to share in their meager pensions.

Again, industry has little patience for providing extra training towards fine-tuning the skills of graduates to their peculiar needs, she indicated.

She said, this therefore calls for new ways of training, to link up with government and industry, and a new ideology that transcends established norms, which are urgently required.

"We need to bring our minds together to find real, lasting solutions to these, because you and I know we can do it, and we should do it", she ended.

The President of GTUC, Dr. Osei K. Darkwa, said in line with the school's strategic vision, "We are establishing this university as a nationally and internationally recognized leader in the application of information technology to education and other sectors of our economy."

He noted that by making technology more available to students and faculty, the institution would be able to meet the growing needs of today's technology savvy students, and transform the teaching and learning processes at the university.

He observed that today's students are armed with smart phones, laptops and tablet computers, prefer to use technology to study at anytime of day or night, and telecommute from anywhere in the world.

Thus, "this requires a movement from an instruction paradigm, in which the teacher's role is that of coach. The result is a student learning how to learn and discovering knowledge with the coaching guidance of a teacher", he explained.

He added that the institution was, therefore, creating a web-centric learning environment and moving in the direction of 'tablet Computer University' where all faculty and students would have access to a tablet computer as the primary teaching and learning tool.

To facilitate the transition, the school has upgraded its technological infrastructure to ensure that students have access to the right tools for study.

Dr. Darkwa used the opportunity to announce that "in May this year, the school received the Quality Summit Award in the Gold category in New York, for our adherence to academic quality standards." Also in June, "we were honoured at the World Summit Award in Mumbai, India, for our outstanding contribution to global education. We are proud of these awards and we will work to win more of such prestigious awards for the university", he assured.

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