Ghana: Parliament Approves Conversion of UDS Wa Campus Into Varsity

PARLIAMENT has unanimously endorsed the conversion of the Wa campus of the University of Development Studies (UDS) into an autonomous university, to be known as the University of Business and Integrated Development Studies.

The decision was taken at the second reading of the University of Business and Integrated Development Studies Bill, 2018, in Parliament, yesterday.

The motion was moved by the Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education, Professor Kwesi Yankah, and seconded by the Chairman of the Education Committee of the House, William Agyapong Quaittoo.

The campus was hived off the UDS in 2002 as the Faculty of Integrated Development Studies (FIDS), to provide opportunities, particularly to people in the Upper West Region, to access university education.

According to the Education Committee's report available to the Ghanaian Times, the UDS Wa campus is expected to be an outstanding internationally acclaimed applied research and practical oriented educational institution, dedicated to the development of business and integrated development studies.

The establishment of the new university, the report said, would attract investors to the region, increase the number of economic activities, promote infrastructural development, create job opportunities, and generate revenue for the development of the country.

The committee, the report said, noted that "the Upper West Region is the poorest, least developed and under-resourced of all the regions in the country - a situation that tends to affect access to education, training and ultimately, the development of the region."

Schools of the university will include School of Business, Law, Social Studies, Education and Life-Long Learning, Information and Communication Technology, and any other related School, Centre or Institute that the Council of the University may determine.

An interim council, the report said, would be responsible for the operations of the university until the appointment of members of the council, adding that continuing students of the UDS before the enactment of the Act, would graduate as students of the UDS.

The Member of Parliament (MP) for the Wa West Constituency, Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh, welcoming the decision, urged the government to commit resources to the conversion of the university as it had done to new universities.

He said without the necessary financial support for the university, it would only exist on paper, and warned against naming the proposed university after any individual since that will create difficulty in marketing and projecting the school.

Mr Alexander Afenyo-Markin, MP for Efutu, urged the yet-to-be established Governing Council of the university to judiciously use internally generated funds to the benefit of the students than the comfort of a few.

Speaking to the brain behind the establishment of the UDS - providing interface between academia and the community - Mr Afenyo-Markin said it was important the new university ensured that local content becomes a key feature on their activities for the benefit of the indigenes of the region.

Responding to some of the concerns raised by the legislators, Prof. Yankah said the university will stick to its mandate, though it would not be running only business programmes.

The House, meanwhile, on Monday, approved the planned conversion of the Navrongo campus of the UDS to be known as the University of Technology and Applied Science.

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