Laweh University College holds 3rd graduation ceremony

Laweh University College, formerly known as Laweh Open University College has organized its third graduation ceremony in conjunction with the 40th congregation of its affiliate, The Open University of Tanzania (OUT).

The ceremony was under the theme: “Higher Education, COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond: Laweh University Leads The Way” at its campus in Nungua, Accra on Thursday, November 25.

Laweh University College which prides itself of being the first Open University in Ghana and second in West Africa , this year graduated 38 students in various fields of endeavor, with 25 receiving undergraduate degrees and 13 receiving post-graduate degrees respectively.

Speaking at the congregation, Professor Goski Alabi, the Consulting President of the University said “this year we have gathered here to celebrate 38 graduands who have met all requirements in both academic and character of the Open University of Tanzania (OUT), our mentoring institution and have demonstrably manifested the core values of Laweh, to wit: Leadership, Innovation, Flexibility and Entrepreneurship – LIFE for short, hence duly approved for graduation”.

To the graduating students, Prof Alabi admonished them to be the torchbearers of the useful knowledge they have acquired and the relevant skills learned to help dispel the darkness of myriad of problems and challenges confronting the Ghanaian society to make the nation a better place to live in.

“To you graduands, I say kudos. Indeed, you deserve the honour to be conferred on you. We much appreciate your apt decision of making Laweh University College the university of choice; Laweh the university of the now and the future, we are forevermore grateful.

“We are happy that you have been able to achieve this feat and we are happy that you chose to be different, that you chose to be special, that when others, for one reason or the other which I may want to describe as resistance to change not as ignorance were grappling with the new concept of the 21st century, of equipping themselves with the necessary skills that are required for the 21st century, you recognized the power of Laweh Open University at the time and chose to be a part of this new drive, congratulations,” she expressed.

Prof Alabi also stressed on the university’s commitment towards the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) of the United Nations (UN), which is to ensure inclusive, equitable quality education for all and also lifelong learning opportunities which the institution is bequeathing to its students. 

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She pointed out that, in collaboration with the Naa Deede Botchwey Foundation (NDB Foundation) under the aegis of the Ghana Most Beautiful 2020 Queen Naa Deede Botchwey, the university has granted scholarships to two young mothers from the community with good grades but had no means of attaining higher education to study at Laweh University College. The school also in its capacity gave scholarships to seven individuals, four of whom were persons with disabilities (PWDs), with one being a part of the graduates this year.

She further disclosed that the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Ghana (ICAG) has made Laweh University College their partner and a center for training in the country. She said the ICAG has given the university exemptions for its master’s students in the Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Finance and Accounting in the whole of the first part and the whole of the second part but will have to write only one paper in the final four papers to be accepted into the institute.

She touched on what she described as the issue of negative perceptions about open and distance education which has been necessitated by the actions of policy makers in the country, citing a directive from the government sector she has been privy to, “which sought to differentiate the qualifications of some teachers in this country and this is a big issue. These are some of the issues that undermines open and distance education in this country and if we have to move forward, we need to recognize that, and I wish to use this platform to call on the GTEC and the ministry to ensure that there is a deliberate strategy to support and promote open and distance education in this country to get it entrenched”.

Prof Alabi added the country’s gross enrolment ratio is somewhere in the middle on the continent, highest being Mauritius which has a gross enrolment ratio of 40% in Africa. She however celebrated that when one looks at the general enrolment ratio of Africa at the tertiary, which is below 10%, Ghana can boast of about 18.8% gross enrolment ratio on the continent. She posited that the 18.8 percentile advantage would not have been possible without open and distance education in the country.

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She said if the government wants to address the issue of graduate unemployment in the country, there must be the need for government to address the issue of open and distance education in Ghana by recommending “work-based learning, the opportunity for people who work, people in the profession to work and school in the evenings but because these people will be tired, they need the flexibility of staying at the comfort of their homes or their offices or wherever, to attain their classes through virtual classes so that they can improve, not only their skills but they can add the skill to the theory to make them really well equipped. So I recommend that we begin to explore the issue of work-based learning in the country”.

Speaking at the congregation, the Deputy Director-General of the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC), Dr Ahmed Jinapor addressed the issues raised by the Consulting President of Laweh University College, saying “for us at GTEC we take open and distance learning seriously”.

He said the university needs to be applauded for what it stands for, that is using technology and mediated learning as a means of championing tertiary education in the country.

“As a commission, it has always been our policy to make tertiary education accessible, flexible and convenient to the learner. These aspirations held by Laweh have become even more prevalent and urgent with the ramifications of COVID-19. As you may be aware, it is the vision of His Excellent President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, through the Minister of Education Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum to move the gross tertiary enrolment ratio from the current 18.8% to 40% in 2030. 

“Audacious as this mission may be, it stands unattainable if not a mirage without the utmost contribution and adherence of open and distance learning. Stemming from this, the Ministry of Education is currently working with GTEC to operationalize the Open University, Ghana. GTEC is also working assiduously on developing standards for the regulation of open and distance learning institutions and programmes,” Dr Jinapor emphasized.

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He said the commission commends Laweh University College for the bold initiative of venturing into such a “delicate and complex” arena in the tertiary educational landscape. And thus pledged to work with the university in the advancement and adherence to quality and recognition of open and distance learning in Ghana.

Also at the congregation to present a citation to Laweh University, winner of the Ghana Most Beautiful 2020 Naa Deede Botchwey said “Laweh University is very blessed to have a passionate, visionary and selfless leadership who will always go the extra mile breaking boundaries and questioning answers in the bid to ensure excellence in academia and promote inclusivity in education and I am blessed we associated with Laweh University College. Last year, I came out as winner of the Ghana Most Beautiful 2020 with a lot of dreams but with very few clues on how to execute them and I met with Prof. Goski Alabi, she was the first person I met when I came out of the Ghana Most Beautiful house and I am convinced that God used her to bless me and through me to bless other people”. 

She added that “on that night that I met her, she didn’t only commit to ensuring that my inclusive education project becomes a success but she also gave me precious advice on how to handle myself personally, how to project myself to ensure that the project is a success. And I think that I owe every achievement that I was able to put out in 2020, all the support I got from partners and everyone else to reach out to me to support me, was because of that initial step by Prof. Goski Alabi. 

“And I am privileged and happy to know that that success was extended to the two beneficiaries of the Laweh Open University College scholarship, which was the brainchild of Prof Alabi and I am proud of the two ladies who won and who today are enrolled as students of the Laweh Open University College. And I just want to say congratulations to them and thank you so much to Prof Goski Alabi and the rest of the executives at Laweh Open University College for making all of our dreams come to pass”.

By Barima Kwabena Yeboah||Ghana