At GTUC, learning in the traditional 4 walled class rooms have been complimented with virtual learning, where students can enjoy learning online without necessarily being in the classroom
At GTUC, learning in the traditional 4 walled class rooms have been complimented with virtual learning, where students can enjoy learning online without necessarily being in the classroom.
UniAfrica.net is doing a special project framed around outstanding African Education Institutions, Academicians, Administrators and Education Counsellors on how they would like to guide prospective students in selecting a program at University. To cover a wider section of universities in Ghana, our next stop was Ghana Technology University College. We discussed host of higher education issues with Dr. Osei Kofi Darkwa, President of Ghana technology University College, Ghana, one of the pioneers in private university education in Ghana. Below is the full interview with Dr. Darkwa.
UniAfrica.net: Ghana Technology University College is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year. How do you see your journey since its inception in 2006? Do you feel that you have made an impact on the life of African youth in these 10 years?
Dr. Osei Darkwa: What began as a small University College in Tesano, Accra is now present in 5 out of the 10 regions in Ghana with a learning campus in Nigeria. Our journey has been ten years of unceasing hard work, great dedication, unfettered optimism, and untiring belief and commitment to the dream of creating a center for academic excellence that provides an enabling environment for quality teaching and learning, research, intellectual creativity, innovation and service to the community we operate in.
As a university college we have impacted so many African Youth in Ghana and beyond. We have graduated over 8000 persons who are currently engaged in various industries in their countries. Some of the training include IT Business (Accounting, Marketing), Telecommunication Engineering and Informatics for undergraduate study and MBA & MSC in International Trade, Supply Chain Management, Finance, Management Information Systems, Oil & Gas to name few for our post graduate programmes .
Our philosophy is providing an enabling learning environment that combines theory with practice for the students to get a better understanding of the world around them. This includes hiring very good lecturers to be part of the various faculties and also engaging industry experts to introduce new trends to students in this fast evolving world we live in.
UniAfrica.net: With more African students opting to pursue their university education within the continent, do you think that GTUC is aptly placed as a truly pan-African University? Can you share some interesting facts about your university which will excite our readers?
Dr. Osei Darkwa: Over the period many Africans have realized the need and importance for education as a tool for self and national development. The growing demand in the pursuit for education is rising every day. GTUC is suitably placed as a truly pan-African university because we provide a comprehensive undergraduate and postgraduate education geared towards the development of a prosperous, integrated and peaceful Africa. Our undergraduate programmes which include Bsc Informatics, Bsc Engineering and Bsc Business Administration combines theory and practice for our students. Some our post graduate programmes are in partnership with several universities abroad and we deliver courses that meet the demands of emerging industries in Africa such as MBA International Trade with Anhalt University (Germany), MBA/MSC Finance, SCM, Oil & Gas, MIS with Coventry, Healthcare Management, Global Finance, Global Business, ICT Management, Marketing In A Digital Age with CASS Europe, just to name a few. Interested students can visit our website www.gtuc.edu.gh for more information.
With regard to education, the African continent is full of promise, the significant strides in the socio-economic growth has introduced a vibrant middle class which propels technological advancements at a rapid pace. The University College currently has about 18% of its student population from other countries in African continent. At GTUC, learning in the traditional 4 walled class rooms have been complimented with virtual learning, where students can enjoy learning online without necessarily being in the classroom. This has been achieved through the establishment of the Center for Online Learning and Teaching (COLT). COLT assists faculty members to design and implement blended (hybrid) and online courses in accordance with the University's vision of providing access to quality and affordable higher education to learners both on and off campus.
UniAfrica.net: Regional education hubs not only attract a share of the global population of mobile students but are becoming favored destinations for students within regions. What do you feel are some of the factors maintaining Ghana as favoured destination for higher education in Africa?
Dr. Osei Darkwa: Among other Sub Saharan countries, Ghana is doing really well in the delivery of higher education in Africa. GTUC was recently ranked number 1 private tertiary institution and number 4 public tertiary institution, the ranking was done by 4 International Colleges & Universities, a non-paid international higher education search engine and directory reviewing Universities and Colleges in the world.
Some of the reasons why Ghana maintains a fovoured destination for higher education in Africa includes;
· The quality of higher education in Ghana
· Political stability
· Socio-economic progress
In short, Ghana provides a positive and enabling environment that supports education delivery. We encourage students looking for an education that truly transforms to consider GTUC as their choice.
UniAfrica.net: Do you agree that most often students choose universities and courses based upon other’s preferences, be it following the peers, accepting choices made by parents, influence by media or just following the current trends. What advice you would like to offer to students and the parents, from Ghana and other African countries, who wish to pursue their higher education in Ghana?
Dr. Osei Darkwa: Many students in choosing programs and courses are mostly not well informed and may rush into making choices that will not support their educational and professional aspirations. I will advise students to do a lot of research on preferred programmes/courses, this can be done on the internet, consulting with past graduates, lecturers, industry experts, etc. Students must also identify their purpose for studying (goals, interests, and career plan), ensure there is enough time to study the program and complete, understand the financial commitment to enable them complete and graduate successfully.
At GTUC we provide student support services that engage students to guide them in choosing programmes and courses that will inform their education and career development.
UniAfrica.net: Students usually find it difficult to get information about universities for admission in other countries. How do you feel UniAfrica.net is helping to bridge this student - university information gap?
Dr. Osei Darkwa: UniAfrica.net has over the period became a trusted source for potential students seeking education in the Africa continent. They have provided one stop shop platform for students to gather information on prospective schools, courses, programs, location etc. thereby making it easier for universities and students across the African continent to gather adequate information on all universities and courses in Africa.
UniAfrica.net: How do you see Ghana Technology University College changing in the next five (5) years, and how do you see you yourself creating that change?
Dr. Osei Darkwa: Enhancing academic life at GTUC is the basis for our quest for excellence and our aspiration to eminence. This is underpinned by our core values: Excellence, Student Experience, Academic Freedom, Innovation and Integrity.
GTUC stands for excellence and over the next five years the University College will seek perfection in the delivery of education to our students, we will also enhance our student experience by focusing more on providing students and faculty with current trends in the various fields of study using technology as a driver to ensure a result based learning experience. Academic Freedom enables students and lecturers to think outside the box to provide tailor made solutions for problems in our communities. Students will also be further encouraged to be innovative and come up with new ways and ideas to solve problems in this fast changing world. We will also continue to provide capacity for lecturers so they can further assist and guide students with their project works. We will continue to show Innovative projects by the Office of Research to the external community of the University College for funding opportunities. Above all, at GTUC we stand for integrity, the University College will ensure that students, faculty, staff, alumni, partners and all friends of GTUC believe and understand the priceless value of integrity in academia. To achieve this we have put in a place a system to check plagiarism effectively and also an academic dishonesty board that ensures that all students comply with our academic policies.
I believe in an inclusive method of leadership and have an open door approach to management. Based on this, I set up a committee to put together a 5 year development plan for GTUC – this was launched during our 10th anniversary celebration. Some of the themes for the strategic plan include; Enhancing student experience, Leadership in our community ,Transnational education and global impact, being an enterprise university, ensuring fiscal stability, improvement of staff & faculty development, to name a few.
The focus on the core themes of this strategic plan, we can reinvent a university that is leaner, smarter and stronger than before – elevating GTUC to a new level of efficiency and impact.
UniAfrica.net: What advice do you have for young Africans who aspire to be like you?
Dr. Osei Darkwa: In GTUC our motto is “Knowledge comes from learning”. I will touch on three special areas in my advice to African Youth; Education, Technology, Entrepreneurship.
Education is a powerful tool for self and national development in the world that we live in today. As said by Nelson Mandela “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world”. Education creates opportunities for personal and national development, I will advise all young African students to aspire to always learn more to make themselves useful in any environment they find themselves in.
“Technology can become the “wings” that allow the education world to fly farther and faster than ever before- if we allow it” Jenny Arledge.
In the world we live in today technology has made life easier for all persons engaged in various industries e.g. healthcare, agriculture, media, banking, etc. The education sector is not any different, I once again encourage the youth to use technology to make learning easier, interesting and widen their scope in the quest to acquire knowledge. With the internet there is nothing hidden under the sun today.
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower” Steve Jobs
As students one key advantage you may have is youthfulness, strength and fresh ideas. Be confident, determined, and innovative and results oriented – your quest for knowledge should be geared towards identifying problems in your communities and providing solutions for them. In GTUC the spirit of entrepreneurship is enshrined in our modules and programmes to encourage students to be innovative in their ways. Our focus is not just to create employees but employers as well.
Brief History dating back to 2006
The College has its roots in Ghana Telecom’s flagship Training Centre, which was one of a kind in West Africa. It was first used as a Royal Air Force (RAF) Training School during the Second World War and subsequently handed to Cable and Wireless to train Telecommunications Technicians for British West African Countries (i.e., Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and The Gambia).
The Training Centre progressed rapidly through deregulation and privatization to become the main source of teaching and certification in Telecommunications Engineering for Ghana Telecom employees as well as other institutions in Ghana and West Africa..
In 2005, Ghana Telecom’s management upgraded the infrastructure and equipment to modern standards in preparation for converting the training centre into a university for telecommunication and multimedia engineering & information technology.
Some Interesting Facts about GTUC
GTUC provides some of the most advanced learning and teaching facilities in Ghana. The University College has invested in state-of-the-art teaching and learning facilities so students have the latest technology and advanced resources. We are located the heart of Accra, Off the Kwame Nkrumah Circle – Nsawam Road, adjacent to the Police Training School, Tesano, Accra. About 30 minutes’ drive from Kotoka International Airport.
· GTUC is also the first University College in Ghana to start transnational education. As demand for higher education outstrips supply globally, transnational education is growing rapidly.
· The GTUC Language Center offers high-quality language skills for diverse learners – students, staff, working professionals etc. The center currently offers English, German and French at the beginners, Intermediate and advanced levels. The Centre is equipped with high technology equipment including computers, headsets, audiovisual and library facilities, and an interactive smart board. The centre also provides English language support services for students whose first language is not English.
· Our hostel facilities also provide well furnished rooms for student who may require accommodation. Mindful of the challenges international students face when they arrive in Ghana to study, we also have a hostel for our international students.
· The lecture rooms in GTUC are also very spacious and air conditioned, with comfortable tables and chairs. Providing students an enabling environment to learn effectively.
· We also have well-equipped laboratories to make teaching, learning, and practical application of IT and telecom engineering more meaningful. The laboratories are equipped with fixed LCD projectors, white board screens and flip charts. The labs facilitate practical work for students and give them hands-on training.
· The University College boasts of state-of-the –art video-conferencing facilities. These facilities are used for online courses and for holding open days, workshops and conferences. The entire GTUC campus is Wi-Fi ready, making it one of the few campuses in Ghana where the Internet could be accessed without wires and cables.
· GTUC views the security and safety of its staff, students and property as an utmost priority. In light of this, the University has engaged the services of qualified security personnel to strengthen and improve security on its campuses. The team is under the leadership of an experienced retired officer of the Ghana Army. The University has also deployed a number of campus monitoring systems including the installation of closed circuit cameras. In addition to the above, a comprehensive classroom access policy is being implemented to ensure that only permitted persons gain access to classrooms and laboratories.
· GTUC uses information technology and supplies same to members of the University community. As a technology oriented institution of higher learning, the University has established the Information Technology Support Services (ITSS) unit to provide the central computing and networking services and resources to management, staff, faculty and students to achieve the vision and mission of the University.
We also have a multi campus system, GTUC has satellite campuses in 5 out of the 10 regions in Ghana. Kumasi –Ashanti region, Takoradi- Western Region, Ho – Volta region, Koforidua – Eastern and in Accra- Greater Accra region we have 3 campuses – Tesano (main Campus), Abeka (Business School) and Teshie Nungua .