It is my greatest pleasure to welcome you all to the Fourteenth Congregation of the Methodist University College Ghana (MUCG).
This is a special occasion for me in particular as I join our graduating students to celebrate their achievement. The occasion is very special for me because it is the first congregation that I am superintending in my capacity as the Principal of the Methodist University College Ghana.
The University College is in its seventeenth year since its establishment, and remains one of the well recognized private tertiary education providers in our country.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, in this address I will give a summary of activities and developments that occurred in the institution during the 2015/2016 academic year. A detailed report on the state of affairs of the University College to the Congregation, however, has been packaged as the Principal’s Annual Report and, which has been provided to you to keep you informed of the institution’s achievements and challenges.
At the end of the 2015/2016 academic year, total student enrolment comprising of postgraduate, first degree, diploma and certificate students was 4,422. The breakdown per campus is as follows: Dansoman 3,504; Tema 563; and Wenchi 355. We, however, have the capacity to admit three times as much.
Ladies and gentlemen, our postgraduate students are in programmes offered at the Dansoman and Tema campuses. These programmes lead to the award of MBA, M.Phil. and MA degrees.
To make our programmes more accessible, an MBA Weekend Programme has been introduced at the Tema Campus to add to the already existing MBA Evening Programme. An MBA Weekend Programme has also been introduced at the Dansoman Campus. The MA Guidance and Counselling Programme, hitherto offered only at the Dansoman Campus, has been extended to the Tema Campus. Work on the establishment of a Satellite Campus in Takoradi is under review.
Faculty and Programmes
To satisfy the requirements for the attainment of autonomy, steps have been taken to create more Faculties, Departments and Institutes; and to introduce new programmes and courses. In the 2015/2016 academic year, a new Faculty, the Faculty of Informatics and Mathematical Sciences was created. The former Centre for Entrepreneurship Education Research and Training (CEERT), which organized MUCG’S first ever International Conference on Educational Development and Innovation (ICEDI) in 2016 has been re-structured to become the Institute for Entrepreneurship Education (IEE). The process of establishing a Faculty of Law is under way. The possibility of upgrading the Department of Nursing in the Faculty of Applied Sciences at the Wenchi Campus to offer First Degree programmes is under consideration. The Department of Languages in the Faculty of Arts and General Studies is to run a B.A. Degree Programme in Bandmastership as well as a Certificate Programme in Digital Media Arts. It is our desire to run Doctoral Programmes soon. Our efforts so far have been yielding fruitful results and we anticipate attaining institutional autonomy soon.
Research and Scholarship
For the first time in the history of MUCG, two Faculty Members of the University College, one from the Faculty of Applied Sciences and the other from the Faculty of Business Administration, have been awarded Fulbright Scholarships.
The Library continues to explore avenues and to seize opportunities that will help improve service delivery to the demands of students, staff and other users. More acquisitions continue to be made to increase book holdings, journals and other educational materials. During the year under review, a total volume of 2,138 books were added to the existing stock. This increased the total volume of books from 34,177 in the 2014/2015 academic year to 36,315 by the end of the 2015/2016 academic year. There were training workshops for both the library and other staff to enhance their professional development and competences. The Library’s online service has been upgraded to keep pace with the latest updates in Information Communication Technology (ICT).
Presiding Bishop, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, at this ceremony, we shall present 1057 Graduands. They include our eighth (8th) batch of postgraduate students, made up of 93 MBA, 23 MPhil and 20 MA Graduands.
The total number of First Degree Graduands is 884 out of which 95 (10.7%) obtained First Class Honours; 174 (19.7%) had Second Class (Upper Division); 433 (49.0%) had Second Class (Lower Division); 161 (18.2%) had Third Class Honours and 21 (2.4%) had Pass. There are also 3 Diploma students and 34 Certificate students.
Awards to Best Performing Students
Awards to students for the 2015/2016 academic year are as follows:
· Best Graduating Music Student
· Best Graduating Economics Student
· Best Graduating Psychology Student
· Best Graduating Accounting Student
· Best Graduating BBA Student
· Best Graduating MBA Student in Entrepreneurial Management
· Overall Best Graduating Student
Resourcing the University College
For the past couple of years, MUCG has not been able to increase the fees charged for our programmes because we cannot price ourselves out of a very stiff competition for students among the tertiary institutions (our mentoring institutions inclusive) in the country. Meanwhile, we need to pay salaries, we need to buy equipment, we need to fund research and we need to pay for utilities and mentoring fees – monies realized from fees currently cannot support expenditures. I am not unaware that the Church is servicing huge loans contracted to put up physical infrastructure, but I reiterate the fact that the University College remains an invaluable asset of the Methodist Church Ghana. The Methodist University College Ghana needs seed money to be functional and to remain functional – the institution needs to be endowed. I make a passionate appeal to the Church and all Wesleyans to come to the aid of MUCG. Let’s note that if MUCG fails, the Church would have failed and so would every true Wesleyan.
Appeals to the Ghana Government
Mr. Chairman, the New Patriotic Party’s Manifesto for Education 2016 states that the party will tackle the many problems that beset education in our country with the seriousness and dedication it deserves because it believes that educated population is key to transforming our country. According to the party, as enshrined in its manifesto, NPP intends to focus on a balanced development of Ghanaian children to make them competitive in a global economy. The manifesto has outlined the party’s plan at achieving this and has outlined very good strategies for the country’s traditional public universities. Ladies and gentlemen, I wish to take advantage of the occasion to comment as follows:
· Chairman of Council, I call on the Government to expedite action on setting up a national Research Fund which would be accessible to researchers in both public and private Universities, as well as Research Institutes.
Looking at current trends in academia, it is almost imperative for University teachers to have doctoral degrees. The pursuit of doctoral degree courses has serious financial implications. Neither the University teacher nor the University finds it easy funding the research work associated with doctoral programmes. For this reason, a number of qualified doctoral degree candidates are unable to start their courses at all or they start and are compelled to abandon the course mid-way through due to financial hardships. To alleviate the financial constraints that confront University teachers wishing to pursue doctoral degrees, I entreat all stakeholders and direct beneficiaries of research, particularly, the Industry, Financial Institutions and Commercial Houses to include in their annual budgets, the provision of scholarships for postgraduate studies.
· Distance Education (DE) as an alternative form of the provision of University education in Ghana currently is widespread and quite a number of both public and private universities are engaged in it. The focus of modern DE delivery is online. This demands that all students on DE programmes should be computer literate, I doubt if this is the case in the DE delivery in the country. I want to use this forum to make a passionate appeal to the Government and the regulators of the provision of higher education in the country to ensure that graduates produced through the Distance Mode are of a similar quality as those that are trained through the on-campus mode, more especially when certificates awarded are not categorized as either regular or DE – it is only then that we can be sure of the quality of thousands of DE graduates that we turn out annually.
· Public higher institutions, though established by Acts of Parliament and autonomous, should be made to remain focus on their Mission. It is only then that we will train the manpower needs of our country to avoid the over-production of university graduates in certain areas leading to graduate unemployment in the country.
· The number of individuals seeking for university education in our country always outnumbers the vacancies declared in the public universities hence a significant number of private tertiary education providers have sprang up in the country (more than 50) to support the provision of university education. There are policies that the regulators of higher education provision ensure so that these institutions, and of course all higher institutions of learning, adhere to. To make it easier for private higher education providers to function, the Government should be able to provide certain incentives that will ease the burdens on both the private provider of university education and the beneficiaries to facilitate the provision of the quality we require in our trained workforce.
Expression of Gratitude
We acknowledge with gratitude the invaluable contribution and support of our development partners and stakeholders.
I wish to use this occasion to pay a glowing tribute to the founding fathers of MUCG. I wish to recognize with unbridled emotion the good work done by my predecessors in laying a solid foundation for the building of a world class institution of higher learning.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, it is a source of gratification and satisfaction to note that the staff of the Methodist University College Ghana continues to discharge their duties to the best of their abilities notwithstanding the stressful conditions under which they work. On behalf of the Management of MUCG and the Methodist Church Ghana, I wish to commend all members of staff for their dedication to work. It is my hope that we will resolve to work even harder in the years ahead to improve upon our efficiencies and to ensure peace and discipline on our campuses. Our output in the year under review has been remarkable. Management recognizes your efforts in our collective desire to build a world class University of choice.
I acknowledge with gratitude the desire of our students to be disciplined and to remain disciplined. I must once again express my administration’s appreciation of their comportment.
Together, let us remain committed to the building of a very good image for the University and let us remain focused in our desire to make MUCG a well recognized university in the West African sub-region.
Advice to Graduating Students
My dear Graduands, I am glad to extend my congratulations to you once again on this joyous occasion. The University has acknowledged your achievements after years of hard work in this institution. We are confident that during your years at MUCG, you were offered the opportunity to master the professional knowledge and skills you need to strengthen your character and to position you well to fulfill your mandate as an adult human being. We have no doubt that you have been adequately equipped to be relevant to yourself and to society.
Please, as you step out to work, do not rush at anything, and if you have to volunteer, do that with caution; carefully study and know how to handle your boss and those who matter; learn to identify the motives of the people around you, especially your colleagues, to enable you to handle them with ease; take your time before making friends; accept no offer that is unreasonable and accept that which is reasonable with care; you, however, need to dedicate yourself to the responsibilities you accept and get committed to them. Above all, always bear in mind that people are watching and assessing you and will pass judgment on you when it is required.
My dear graduating students, I am optimistic that you will be good ambassadors of MUCG wherever you find yourselves, and will excel in all your endeavours.
I wish you the best of God’s protection and blessings in all that you do.