The University of Ghana has launched a Strategic Plan with a focus on research as one of the key priorities to the institution’s transformation process and ultimately strengthening its impact and visibility internationally.
Professor Ernest Aryeetey, Vice-Chancellor of the University, said the new strategic plan, which spans 2014 to 2024, was intended to consolidate the gains made from the review of the university’s Mission and Practices and situate these within the context of a very dynamic environment of higher education in Ghana and beyond.
The vision, he said, was to become a “world class research-intensive university” over the next decade, and to achieve this, the management would create an enabling environment that made the University of Ghana (UG) increasingly relevant to national and global development through cutting-edge research as well as high quality teaching and learning.
He said in the nine priority pillars under the Plan, the university would create a vibrant climate that stimulates relevant cutting edge research and community engagement, promote academic excellence using the highest international standards of teaching, learning and leadership development and provide an environment that would ensure fulfilling experiences for internal stakeholders.
Prof. Aryeetey said the UG had also strategised to create the best environment for equal opportunity in gender and diversity, overhaul all governance arrangements to achieve greater effectiveness and efficiency and enhance the mobilisation and management of resources at unit and central administration levels.
It would also strengthen the management of the university’s assets and facilities as well as mainstream and enforce structures and processes for system-wide monitoring and evaluation, and build stakeholder confidence in its capabilities.
The Vice-Chancellor said the university had undergone significant change since its last strategic plan in 2001 to 2011, especially in the area of producing world-class human resources, adding that the institution would remain committed to knowledge generation that positively impacted the lives of those within and outside its community.
Prof Aryeetey said it was anticipated that the demand for other services from the university, beyond the training of minds, would grow as research became more and more important to African economies and society.
Therefore, the way the university was funded was expected to change as a result of expected changes in the public financing of education and the relationship between the UG and the Government.
He said the fact that there were many more universities in Ghana and Africa should even influence the way the UG planned for its future, but indicated that significant improvements had occurred in the past few years in areas including improved staff capacity and growth in the research output of the university’s faculty members.
He said through staff development schemes the number of lecturers with PhDs had increased to 63 per cent compared to 42 per cent 10 years ago.
The Vice-Chancellor said the creation of an Office of Research Innovation and Development had led to significant increases in funding for research from various sources, including Internally Generated Funds (IGF).
He enumerated some current and future challenges of the university as overcrowding of its facilities, both academic and residential and inadequacy of teaching faculty, but said the last decade had seen consistent and dynamic effort to address those as much efforts had been made in the development of student housing and academic buildings.
Prof. Aryeetey said some of the major pillars of the strategic plan period would be to grow the number of graduate students, especially at the PhD level to ensure a ratio of 50:50 undergraduate and graduate, and also maintain a total number of regular residential students at not more than 35,000 by the end of the period.
It aims at expanding the total number of Distance Education and Accra City Campus students to not more than 20, 000, expand significantly the number of faculty members to ensure a decent teacher – student ratio in conformity with national norms and standards.