Professor Josephus Anamuah-Mensah, former Vice Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba, says the efforts to raise Ghana unto a higher middle income status would be unrealistic if access to tertiary education remains elitist.
He said currently access to tertiary education as measured by the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) is 12 per cent which means that a large number of talents lie dormant and uncultivated to contribute to the country’s prosperity.
He said there is the need to increase the existing percentage to about 30 per cent to be able to move the nation beyond the lower middle-income status.
“There is a higher education demand surge but many Ghanaians are deprived of tertiary education, only 12 per cent of post-secondary school graduates get access to the university. We are struggling to move beyond the lower middle-income but the figure is too low for a higher middle-income status,” he said.
Prof Anamuah-Mensah said this when he delivered the keynote address at the maiden annual Easter forum organised by the College of Distance Education (CoDE) of the University of Cape Coast (UCC).
The forum, which was on the theme: “Distance education: Our hope for a sustained human capacity development in Ghana,” was aimed at addressing the issues concerning distance education.
He said the role of higher education especially for African countries cannot be taken lightly and urged Ghanaians not to view tertiary education as something for the elites alone.
Distance education is the best alternative to addressing the problem of limited access to tertiary education as it offers the working populace the opportunity to improve upon their knowledge in the work place, Prof Anamuah-Mensah said.
He said with 49.3 per cent of the total number of teachers at the basic school level being untrained, distance education would obviously be the recommended option for them if they want to go to school while they remain in the classrooms.
The former Vice-Chancellor urged the organisers of distance education programmes to put in place employable skills courses that are work-based and expand its scope to introduce technical and vocational programmes.
Professor D. D Kuupole, Vice Chancellor of UCC, said distance education since its inception in 1994, has become embedded in the country’s educational sector and called on all to embrace it.
He said distance education makes higher education flexible and offer a larger number of people the opportunity to enrol in any programme.
He said the discussions, sharing of ideas and innovations that may come up during the forum would go a long way to make advancement in the distance learning programs.
Heads of training colleges, education administrators, teachers, university dons and the Director of CoDE, Prof, George Oduro were present at the one-day forum.
Source : GNA