There are many

For some time now, a number of the universities in Ghana have carved a niche for themselves in terms of academics, facilities and other notable activities such as sports and debate competitions.

Here is what you need to know about some tertiary institutions in Ghana.

1. University of Ghana (UG)

The nation’s premier university was established as the University College of the Gold Coast by Ordinance on August 11, 1948. The affiliate of University of London was founded with the aim of providing university education, learning and research. History suggests that the College Council in the 1960-61 academic year, requested that the college be turned into a University which can award its own degree. The commission which was set up to look into the matter recommended it be named University of Ghana and was subsequently upheld by an Act of Parliament on October 1, 1961 (Act 79).

The University of Ghana, based at Legon, Accra, aims at becoming a world class research-intensive University in ten years. It intends creating an enabling environment to remain relevant to national and global development.

Although it was essentially to focus on liberal arts, University of Ghana has extended its tentacles to provide more science driven and technology-based courses with postgraduate training. It also boasts of a medical school in Korle-Bu with a teaching hospital, and other satellite campuses. With nearly 40,000 students enrolled on regular and sandwich programmes, and distance education as well as students from affiliate institutions, the nation’s premier university is arguably the most populated University in Ghana.

The institution has also made provisions for International students to enrol on regular undergraduate and graduate programmes, study abroad and other special programmes.

Currently, University of Ghana has research and learning centres which include Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy (LECIAD),  Regional Institute for Population Studies, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIR), Institute for Environmental and Sanitation Studies and the Institute for Statistical, Centre for Tropical, Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Social and Economic Research.

University of Ghana has thirteen halls of residence.

Alumni of the university include John Dramani Mahama [President of Ghana], Prof Ernest Aryeetey [Vice Chancellor, University of Ghana], Nana Akufo-Addo [NPP Presidential candidate], Georgina Theodora Wood [Chief Justice] and Kwabena Frimpong Boateng [world renowned physician and cardiothoracic surgeon].

2. Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)

Situated in Kumasi is the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology established by a Government Ordinance on 6th October, 1951 as Kumasi College of Technology.

Just like the University of Ghana, the change in name occurred after a commission set up to look into the future development of university education in Ghana recommended that it be made an independent institution. The university was named after Ghana’s first president Osagyafo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. He is said to have moved the institution from Achimota to form the Kumasi College of Technology.

The University which wields Leadership in Innovation and Technology, Culture of Excellence, Diversity and Equal Opportunity for All, as well as Integrity and Stewardship of Resources as its core values aims at advancing knowledge in Science and Technology for sustainable development in Africa.

With nice edifices, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology has the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Engineering, College of Art and Built Environment, College of Science and College of Health Sciences as part of its Undergraduate Programmes. It also offers Post graduate programmes, Distance Education, and Sandwich programmes in Bachelor of Science Studies (BSc.)

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology has six halls of residence and a number of hostels.

Notable alumni of KNUST include Kofi Annan [former UN Secretary General], Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings [former first lady], Aliu Mahama [former vice president of Ghana], Hackman Owusu Agyemang [former Minister of Water, Works and Housing] and John Dumelo [actor].

3. University of Cape Coast (UCC)

It is the university established to train graduate professional teachers for Ghana's second cycle institutions and the Ministry of Education.

Located in the Central Region, the University of Cape Coast by an Act of Parliament in 1971, attained an independent status to confer its own degrees, diplomas and certificates.

The university which had a relationship with University of Ghana has now expanded some of its faculties and the diversification of programmes to meet the current needs of the nation.

UCC has colleges including College of Distance Education, College of Health and Applied Sciences, College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, College of Humanities and Legal Studies for undergraduate studies and runs Sandwich programmes like M.A. [Human Resources Management], M.Ed. [Admin], M.Ed. [Management], M.A. [Human Resources Development], and M.A. [Democratic Governance, Law and Development, Environmental Management Policy and M.A. [Governance and Sustainable Development], as well as M.A. and M.Ed. [Guidance and Counselling].

Sandwich programmes at diploma, graduate and postgraduate levels in Organisation Development are also being run by the university.

The institution has ten halls of residence and boasts of Seth Tekper [Finance Minister], Prof Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang [Minister of Education], Millison K Narh [Deputy Governor, Bank of Ghana], Kwesi Ahwoi [former Interior Minister] among others as alumni.

4. University of Education, Winneba (UEW)

University of Education, Winneba is the institution “charged with the responsibility of producing professional educators to spearhead a national vision of education aimed at redirecting Ghana's effort along the path of rapid economic and social development.”

It was established in 1992 and currently has four campuses (Winneba, Kumasi, Mampong and Ajumako) with Winneba as the main administration. University of Education, Winneba runs academic programmes including undergraduate programmes, postgraduate programmes, assessment structure and distant education programmes.

5. University for Development Studies (UDS)

University for Development Studies was established in 1992 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” (PNDC Law 279, Section 279).

As part of its mission, UDS seeks to ensure “equitable and socio-economic transformation of communities through practically oriented, community based, problem solving, gender sensitive and interactive research, teaching, learning and outreach activities.”

UDS runs Diploma and Undergraduate Programmes as well as Graduate Programmes. It has four campuses [Tamale, Navrongo, Wa and Nyankpala], eight faculties [Faculty of Agribusiness and Communication Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Integrated Development Studies, Faculty of Mathematical Sciences, Faculty of Planning and Land Management, Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources], a Business School, one Medical School, one Graduate School, one Institute and three centres.

Similarities

It is worth pointing out that these universities are communities on their own. There are private security personnel on various campuses and radio stations which help in disseminating information, training, educating and entertaining the students. While University of Ghana has Radio Univers, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology has Focus FM. University of Cape Coast, University of Education, Winneba and University for Development Studies have ATL Radio, Windy Bay and Radio Ultimate respectively.

There are also the legislative, executive and judicial bodies constituted by the students to run their own activities just as it exists at the national level.

Major challenges

Universities in Ghana, to a large extent, are faced with the same challenges ranging from inadequate human resource [horrible proportioned of lecturer-student ratio], limited facilities, accommodation and industrial action due to outstanding salaries.