My take on the latest development of the University for Development Studies (UDS) concerning the autonomy issues of the Wa Campus.
Wa campus is one of the campuses created by the law that established the University for Development Studies (UDS) in 1992 by PNDC law 279.
The University for Development Studies (UDS) is Ghana’s first public University in the North. It was established in May, 1992 by the Government of Ghana (PNDC Law 279) to “blend the academic world with that of the community in order to provide constructive interaction between the two for the total development of Northern Ghana, in particular, and the country as a whole.
UDS was borne out of the new thinking in higher education which emphasizes the need for universities to play a more active role in addressing problems of the society, particularly in the rural areas.
The University by its mandate and constituency has a pro-poor focus. This is reflected in its methodology of teaching, research and outreach services. The specific emphasis on practically-oriented, research and field-based training is aimed at contributing towards poverty reduction in order to accelerate national development.
Academic work in the university began in September 1993 with the admission of forty (40) students into the Faculty of Agriculture (FoA), Nyankpala.
ANNOUNCING WA CAMPUS AS AN AUTONOMOUS UNIVERSITY
The President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo says the Wa and Navrongo campuses of the University for Development Studies (UDS) will soon become autonomous universities.
He said the Bill for gazetting is currently in the office of the Attorney General, and once it is gazetted, it would be sent to Parliament for ratifications for the two campuses of UDS to become autonomous.
Parliament has unanimously approved the conversion of the Wa campus of the University for Development Studies (UDS), into an autonomous university to be known as the University of Business and Integrated Development Studies.
The decision was taken at the second reading of the University of Business and Integrated Development Studies Bill, 2018 in Parliament.
THE ROLE OF THE PRESIDENT
It is the president, who has the power to sign the bill of the university into a law that will pave way for the creation of the Wa Campus as a full separate university in Ghana.
But before then, the president needs to constitute a university council that will take charge of the university and then will also appoint the foundation vice chancellor of the university who will now approach the UDS central campus for the splitting to be done.
Until this is done, the people of the Upper West Region will leave not to see the new university established in Wa.
My investigations from the Wa Campus had it those lecturers who are not from the Upper West region are seriously looking for jobs elsewhere to move.
According to them “we are not save in the region again; everyday press conferences are carried on the university and lies are told on the campus”.
They have cited the recent press conferences by the Coalition of Concern Upper West Citizens on the dismissal of health officers from the university hospital.
DISMISSAL OF HOSPITAL STAFF
My investigations had it that, the university management had interred into a contract with a private sector PDC to manage the hospital for a period of time before handing over to the school authority.
When a new council was constituted, they find out that the private company had not even registered and do not have the legal mandate to run the hospitals in Tamle, Nyankpala, Navrango and Wa campuses.
So the contract was terminated by the school council and by that all the staff working for the hospital will have to vacate the hospital because they were hired by the PDC who was managing the hospital.
As at the time of this investigation, the 19 staff of the PDC has finally moved and the school authorities are now asking the Ghana Health Service to help with health personnel to manage all the hospitals in the 4 campuses.
3 of the staff are now 60 years and can no longer be employed, 4 of them are working as volunteers at the hospital and 1 of them is back to school.
My investigations revealed the owner of the PDC which was contracted to run the hospitals in all the university campuses belongs to a staff of the university who teaches at the medical school of the university.
My check tells me he is called Professor Ziem.
My investigation has also taken me to find out if the university has enough physical structures to accommodate a full university. My checks had it that all the ongoing projects at the university had come to a standstill; no contractor was at site as at the time I went to the university campus.
CONTRACTS AWARDED AND ABANDONED
Construction of 500m underground water tank at the Wa campus of the university and this was awarded to Messrs Sunlu Ghana Limited at a cost GH₵ 913,547.87.
The contract was awarded on 23/09/2015 and was expected to be completed in 23/09, 2016.
Part payments have been made to the contractor, but he is not at site when I visited the campus.
Construction of entrance gatehouse at the Wa campus of the university for development studies by Messrs Ranason Ghana Limited was awarded on 3/4/2014 and was expected to be completed on 2/10/2014 at a contract sum of GH₵162, 994.30, as at the time I got to the Wa campus, the project has been terminated but yet to be re-awarded since 2014.
Construction of 3 bedrooms, 8 units 4 story blocks of flats at the Wa campus of the university for development studies was awarded to Messrs Tibuora-Taa Ent Limited/Latif Momen Ent at a cost of GH₵1, 733, 330.96. It was awarded on 10/6/2013 and was expected to be completed on 8/7/2014. The contract was terminated and yet to be re-awarded.
Almost all the projects are GETFUND projects awarded by the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council and few also awarded by the university it self.
All the stalled projects on the campus are 8 and my investigations revealed that, the university needs an amount of GH₵ 45,861,998.06 to complete the projects.
By Muniru Ibrahim