UPSA Holds Matriculation …Outdoors COVID-19 Ambassadors

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The University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), has admitted 883 postgraduate students to pursue various second degree and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programmes for the 2020/21 academic year.

They include 25 PhD students, 31 Master of Philosophy (MPhil), 658 Master of Business Administration (MBA), 143 Master of Arts/Master of Science (MA/MSc) and 26 MBA (by distance learning) students.

The postgraduate registered fresh students comprise 508 males (57.53 per cent) and 375 females (42.47 per cent).

Vice-Chancellor, UPSA, Professor Abednego Feehi Okoe Amartey, who made the disclosure on Friday at the matriculation of the University’s fresh postgraduate students in Accra, noted that the male to female ratio was 6:4.

“This year’s intake represents about 26.87 per cent increase over that of the previous year,” he said.

He explained that the matriculation ceremony should have been held at the later part of last year but had to be rescheduled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Vice Chancellor urged all and sundry to play their part in the fight against the virus by adhering to all Covid-19 prevention protocols – wearing of masks, social distancing and frequent hand washing with soap or sanitizing.

With regards to blending teaching and learning, Prof Amartey said as part of measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Management of the University had decided that teaching and learning during the 2020/21 academic year should be delivered through blended teaching and lending.

In other words, the normal in-person instructional method which spans a period of 13 weeks per semester would now be divided into two.

He said during the first six weeks, there would be in-person or face to face teaching with double contact hours per week, adding that this would be followed by another six weeks of online or virtual teaching.

He said there would, of course, be one week of revision; thus the 13th week would be devoted to revision.

Prof Amartey said the end of semester examinations would largely be held in-person with examinations for some few courses taken online or as take-home assignments.

Concerning new academic programmes, the Vice Chancellor said they would be matriculating the first batch of students who had been enrolled onto the MSc in Insurance Risk Management Programme soon  after having received accreditation to mount the programme last year.

He said the University had received approval for the introduction of MSc in Procurement Management programme, which would take off next academic year.

Regarding infrastructure development projects, Prof Amartey said, “In spite of all the challenges brought about by the (Covid -19) pandemic, all the new infrastructural development projects initiated in 2019 are progressing according to schedule.”

“This includes the two hostel buildings – which will house 812 students – and the multipurpose, twin tower building, which will comprise commercial, office and lecture rooms”.

He said there was also a challenge of shortage of accommodation for their graduate students, leaving many of them at the mercy of private hostel owners.

“We understand the specific needs of our graduate students, and I am happy to inform you that the University has purchased property behind this auditorium, which will be converted into a postgraduate hostel.”

On free wifi project, he said the UPSA had been selected as one of the 13 public tertiary institutions benefitting from government’s Free Wifi Project in the amount of $514,000, for the improvement of campus internet connectivity.

This project, he said came at an opportune time when online teaching and learning had become the order of the day in the wake of the pandemic.

Prof Amartey urged the freshmen to honour the tenets of the matriculation oath and to be guided by the University’s rules and regulations.

The Chairman of the UPSA Council, Dr Kofi Ohene-Konadu, advised the students to take their studies serious, saying “that is the essence for enrolling at UPSA, anything else is secondary”.

He also urged them to take personal hygiene and health matters very serious, especially in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, the UPSA as part of efforts to combat the deadly Coronavirus pandemic, the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), has appointed over 100 student volunteers to work as COVID-19 ambassadors.

The ambassadors have been introduced to the university community at a short ceremony on campus.

The peer health education initiative, known as ‘UPSA COVID-19 Ambassadors’, is designed to provide students with guidance on healthy behaviours and social norms related to COVID-19.

The student ambassadors, whose membership is made up of five students from each level/year group of each programme of the institution, will be provided with COVID-19 training and education to share with their friends in and out of campus.

They will also monitor the compliance of the COVID-19 safety protocols by the students and advise the authorities for remedial actions to be taken where necessary.

Information to be disseminated by the ambassadors include how to prevent and control COVID-19 infection through strategies like physical distancing, hand hygiene, cough etiquette and proper disposal of used tissue papers.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor of UPSA, Professor Charles Barnor observed that the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is a herculean task, which demands “all hands on deck.”

He noted that the growing number of students, staff and faculty and construction workers on the campus called for a deliberate action on the part of University Management to institute measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Prof. Barnor said the COVID-19 Ambassadors initiative was Management’s strategy to strengthen COVID-19 risk communication and engagement within the University community as the second wave of the highly contagious and dangerous virus claims more lives around the world.

He urged students, staff and faculty to abide by the COVID-19 safety protocols at all times.

“We cannot have a successful semester or academic calendar without getting the students involved in the strategies that we have designed to ensure the COVID-19 would not escalate on our campus,” the Pro-Vice Chancellor stated.

“Never take anybody around you for granted, see all persons around you as potential carriers [of COVID-19], so that you take the necessary measurements.”

Dr. Bernard Dornoo, the Director of Medical Services of the University cautioned against complacency on the part of persons who have not contracted the virus or people who have recovered from it, saying the little things that people ignore, could expose them to the virus and urged everyone to abide by the COVID-19 safety protocols.

Dr. Dziwornu, Dean of the Faculty of Accounting and Finance also added his voice to the calls for strict adherence to the COVID-19 safety protocols. He said the COVID-19 pandemic was not likely to end soon and efforts should be made to stop the spread of the disease.

“Management of UPSA is doing all that it can to prevent the spread of the virus,” he said.

“We are trying our best to avoid recording any case on Campus. We have come out with certain scenarios and strategies to deal with it. Let us keep the fight against COVID-19, though it will be difficult a battle to fight, if we fight together, it is one we can win.”

Dr. Fidelis Quansah, Dean, Faculty of Management Studies, advised the COVID-19 Ambassadors to set good examples for those they were going to educate. She urged them to use decent language and a warm tone in their interactions with their fellow students.

Present at the ceremony were Dr. Edward Bannerman-Wood, Director , Academic Affairs; Mrs. Aba Lokko, Director of Public Affairs; Dr. Ibn Kailan Abdul-Hamid, Programmes’s Coordinatator as well as Prince Wade Nartey, Interim Chairman of the Students’ Representative Council (SRC).