Quality of education affected by recent disruptions – UHAS VC
Vice Chancellor of the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) Prof John Owusu Gyapong says the recent disruptions to universities’ academic calendar will affect the quality of education.
According to him, universities across the country were still recovering from the blow dealt by the pandemic when the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) went on strike, further derailing any progress made.
He explained that in an effort to return to the traditional academic calendar universities would have to compress teaching and learning in much fewer weeks than previously used.
Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, he said, “We didn’t finish recovering from Covid and this one came in. You know, the typical semester is usually 16 weeks. And so I think you showed the University of Ghana academic calendar in your intro and what they were planning to do was something around 11 or 12 weeks which meant that the 16 weeks academic semester was going to be compressed into 12 weeks.”
“And then normally you’ll cut down on maybe revision time, and then also if we’re going to use two weeks for exams, you may end up using one and half weeks for exams and then if students were to go for maybe ten hours a week lecture, you’ll end up making it about 12 hours a week,” he added.
He explained that when so much is compressed within such a short time frame, “You put a lot of pressure on students and not just students but also faculty also are in a lot of pressure. And I dare say that almost every time UTAG goes on strike and comes back, the work that was pending has to be done.
“And then there is a lot of pressure on the faculty and students, everybody is just running on edge and it is not very good for teaching and learning. So clearly there is a problem.”
The Professor further explained that in the process some quality of teaching and learning would be lost.
According to him, universities are yet to even evaluate the impact of transitioning from face-to-face teaching to online teaching on the quality of education.
“Many institutions have used the hybrid approach, doing some online teaching and then some face-to-face teaching. And I have always held the view that for those of us in the health sciences, it is not necessarily the same, you can use all kinds of computer models to try and help to teach students, but if you’re studying midwifery we have a schedule, you must deliver 20 babies within a certain time frame.
“There are different presentations that you should have gone through and it’s not the same. Being in the labour ward doing deliveries is not the same as doing simulations on computers. And I’ve always asked … if your wife were in labour, would you prefer to have somebody who has had the on-hand experience to deliver your wife or to have someone who has had computer simulations to do that.
“It is very clear that something gives, but it is possible to recover that with a lot of dedication from both faculty and students we need to apply ourselves and ensure that we make the time available and a conscious effort to recover. But something usually will give,” he said.