The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba, Prof. Mawutor Avoke has emphasized that the quality of teaching and learning has become one of the main topics of higher education consultants and policies at the international global levels, as well as within the Ghanaian educational setting.  Thus, the role of and responsibilities of university teachers in quality education delivery at the tertiary level is very important and urgent.

The Vice-Chancellor was delivering the key note address at the 3rd Faculty of Educational Studies Academic Retreat for senior members and senior staff at Pempamsie Hotel, Cape Coast in the Central Region, under the theme Enhancing quality teaching, learning and service delivery: The role of the Faculty of Educational studies. The speech was read on behalf by the Vice Chancellor by the Pro-Vice Chancellor, Very Rev. Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni.

The three day retreat was meant to bring both senior members and senior staff in the Faculty of Educational Studies (FES) together to review their past and plan on the way forward. It was also to help the faculty to evaluate its programmes, adopt innovative ideas and skills in handling educational programmes favourably and to compete with international and local universities.

Prof. Avoke defined quality education and said “it involves several dimensions including the effective design of the curriculum, and course content, a variety of learning contexts, soliciting and using feedback, effective assessment of outcomes, well adapted learning environments and student support services”.

The Vice-Chancellor mentioned three levels of support that must take place and said all the levels are essential, even supporting quality of teaching at the discipline level and across the institution. These, he said are key in order to ensure improvement in quality teaching and learning process.

According to the Vice-Chancellor, “internationalization of higher education, increasingly broadening of education and greater diversity of student profiles, rapid changes in technology which can quickly make programme content obsolete; demand for greater civic engagement of graduates,  increased pressures of global competition  and economic  efficiency  and the need to produce skilled workforce to meet the challenges of the 21st Century”. He added that the view of learning demands a change of approach from faculty members.

As a member of the FES, the Vice-Chancellor was hopeful that the retreat will promote thorough reflection, research approach and increased commitment to the introduction of better, more efficient methods, forms and approaches to work with students. Concluding his speech, the Vice Chancellor stated that “ at the end of your deliberations, I believe you will come out with better policies and strategies that will eliminate or reduce barriers and provide systematic progress on the path to high quality higher education in UEW”.

Earlier, Prof. George Kankam, Dean of the FES in a welcome address, said the faculty currently runs 29 programmes and is the largest in terms of student population, with 64 teaching staff. However, globalization has changed education delivery to a market commodity where universities have to design market driven programmes and public relations sections of the universities have become active in publicizing and marketing the programmes of their universities. This situation, the Dean said “challenges not only the faculty of educational studies, but also requires the university to revisit its programmes since other sister universities have shifted from their core mandate to offer academic programmes”.

He called on the departments in the faculty to introduce new programmes while acknowledging that quality education is the key to strengthening all sectors of our economy for without it Ghana can never find her place in the comity of nations.

Prof Kankam described the FES as “pivotal to the University of Education, Winneba, so far as its core mandate is concerned”, and was convinced that at the end of the retreat, the faculty will be prepared enough to handle the task ahead.

The chairman for the opening ceremony, Prof. M. K. Amedeker, the Director of Quality Assurance linked the theme of the retreat, Enhancing quality teaching, learning and service delivery: the role of the Faculty of Educational Studies, to quality assurance and said, quality assurance is not new in tertiary education in Ghana and has been used since the time of the industrial revolution. He said it is now used in staff training to reduce cost and has been part of UEW agenda since 2003.

He called on the departments in the faculty to make judicious use of funds; organize workshops and come out with new programmes and to develop innovative approach to teaching, as other universities are also offering educational programmes.

The chairman called on all departments to set up quality assurance units and send information for publication in the quarterly newsletter Quality Speaks

Report by: GERSHON DOKU                                                                                                                                   

(Participant Reporter)