OLA College of Education, Cape Coast on Saturday, March 13, 2021, inducted Dr. Regina Okyere-Dankwa into office as the 15th Principal of the College. In a short but colourful ceremony held at the College’s auditorium, dignitaries from all walks of life graced the ceremony. In attendance were Chairman of OLA College of Education Governing Council -Most Rev. Matthias Kobena Nketsiah, Members of the College Council, Rev. Sis. Agnes-Rita Adomah – Vice Principal of the College, Dr. Emmanuel Nyamekye – PRINCOF President, a representative of UCC Vice-Chancellor – Prof. Ernest K. Davies, Director of Institute of Education – Prof. Christine Adu-Yeboah, Gyasihene of Oguaa Traditional Area, Principals from other Colleges of Education, the Religious and the Clergy.
The outgone Principal of the College, Rev. Sis. Elizabeth Amoako-Arhen, was however, not present. Checks by the News Desk of the Colleges of Education Weekly Journal indicated that she was on a National assignment.
In her address, the new Principal of the College, Dr. Regina Okyere-Dankwa was full of praise to God for the great honour done her. She also expressed her profound gratitude to the College Council for the confidence reposed in her to steer the affairs of the College to greater heights.
“It is also appropriate at this point to extend my sincere gratitude to my immediate predecessor, Rev. Sis. Elizabeth Amoako-Arhen, who also taught me when I was a student in the College. Thank you very much for all the values you imbibed in me” she added.
Outlining her vision for the College, Dr. Okyere-Dankwa stated that “Colleges of Education in Ghana are undergoing a massive transformation to reflect the mandate required of tertiary institutions. The main thrust of this reform is to improve quality and increase accessibility. In line with the ongoing transformation, my Vision is to make Our Lady of Apostles (OLA) College of Education, the preferred female College of Education offering Teacher Education in Ghana”.
Dr. Okyere-Dankwa indicated she intends to achieve her vision for OLA College of Education through eleven (11) thematic areas. They include:
- Ethical Leadership and Good Governance
The change in status of training colleges in Ghana to produce Bachelor of Education students is a paradigm shift in the mandate of Colleges of Education in Ghana. The new status of quality of education which makes them truly tertiary will affect staff categorization into junior staff, senior staff, and senior members. It will also influence: the schedule of a lot of current staff as to their ability to facilitate the teaching-learning process for Bachelor of Education Degrees; change management has to be done well to make it acceptable to all and sundry to ensure the effective and efficient running of OLA college of education for the realization of the government objective of turning colleges of education into degree institutions.
Being a result-oriented person and a team player who wants to establish a positive environment with productive relationships, I will lead by example by practicing and demonstrating the use of ethical, honest, and unselfish behaviors to subordinates. Knowing very well that quality relationship is built on trust, fairness, integrity, openness, compassion, and respect, I will establish a people-centered administration that will bring everyone on board. I will also adopt an appropriate workable structure, but efficient administration to cut down costs.
- Promotion of Academic Excellence
My major priority would be to strengthen the academic and the non-academic departments and sections to function and reflect the expected standards of a tertiary institution. This would be done by resourcing the departments with needed inputs and where necessary restructure the setup for efficiency. I would also ensure that the College attracts recruits and retains highly qualified and skilled human resources. Staff training and development would be given utmost priority.
- Human Resource Development Programmes
The management of OLA College of Education would draw a programme to upgrade current academic and non-academic staff whose status would be affected by staff audit to properly categorize staff in the institution.
In drawing up Human Resource Development Programmes care would be taken to ensure that critically needed staffs are recruited to augment existing personnel. There will also be the need for interventions to be put in place to address staff retention and staff welfare issues. This will be done through the use of part of the internally generated funds of the college, expected GETFUND allocation, joining of higher education support organizations or institutions that provide funds for post-graduate training such as the RUFORUM (Regional University Forum for Capacity Building, et cetera.) Both higher educational institutions in Ghana and outside that can provide the needed training and support shall be used.
- Increase of Internally Generated Funds
The achievement of academic excellence in the University College calls for a massive mobilization of funds and its prudent use. Especially where it relates to Science, Mathematics, Technology, Engineering, and the Arts.
The College would leverage its human and physical resources to raise the needed IGF to support the activities of the College. These resources would augment financial resources from the government of the Republic of Ghana.
The Institution as a whole, as well as departments, would be encouraged to set up income-generating ventures while existing ones are supported for efficiency. Departments would also be required to look for sponsorships as well as raise funds to support teaching and learning, knowing very well that government subvention to public institutions of higher learning in Ghana has dwindled over time.
- Infrastructural Development
The accessibility of a good infrastructure in the running of a model tertiary institution cannot be over-emphasized. Although a good human resource is a critical mix in achieving academic excellence, infrastructure such as well-equipped lecture theatres, libraries, computer laboratories, clinic, restaurant, are essential. For this reason, infrastructure will be well maintained and new ones acquired based on availability of financial resources, proper planning, and prioritization of needs as e-learning is becoming the order of the day to expand educational accessibility (Distance learning). As well as to be able to continue academic work in times of disaster (like the current COVID-19 pandemic).
- Strategic Collaborations and Community Engagements
I would ensure that there is a strong collaboration between industry, community, and the institution. With my experience in international relations and institutional linkages, I intend to collaborate with other university colleges and traditional public universities both locally and internationally in the areas of staff development/scholarships for material/equipment donations to our school, student and staff exchange programmes, and internship/industrial attachment.
Apart from the government subvention, support from private individuals and organizations would be sought through collaborations and sponsorships to boost infrastructural development.
The College would also engage the community to ensure the transfer of skills by way of alleviating poverty and improving the livelihood of the community. As part of community service or corporate social responsibility, short courses/workshops would be organized for community members based on needs assessment and available professionals on the college staff to help improve their livelihood.
- Rebranding and Beautification
An institution established in October 1924 will certainly need a modern touch to befit its status and be more competitive. Because of government policy to upgrade all Colleges of Education to university colleges, rebranding the institution has become evident. My experience as a member of the rebranding committee in the transition from Koforidua Polytechnic to Koforidua Technical University will be brought to bear in the rebranding and beautification of this institution.
My priority will be to help revise the vision, mission, and core values of the institution. This will help reposition the college to have a competitive advantage and to serve as a drive for accelerated development. Rebranding would be carried out through:
- Branded billboards will be positioned at strategic locations to draw prospective applicants’ attention to the college.
- Promote positive engagement with the media through organizing annual press soiree and technology fairs.
- Strengthen alumni by conducting need assessment and resourcing alumni office et cetera.
Deliberate plans will be drawn to beautify the college. Areas requiring grassing, paving, painting and tiling will be given due attention.
- Interest in science and technology education
Teaching science and technology to students ideally as in any other subject helps them to think, learn, solve problems and make informed decisions. Development of science laboratories, technological equipment, and the creation of awareness to increase female interest in science and technology would be enhanced. This is because females are particularly underrepresented in science and technology programmes. Students would be empowered to partake in science activities and provide the essential tools and resources that would be needed in female education. The interest of female students in science and technology education would be boosted when females attend the TVET colloquium, as they meet, like-minded female students and other female personalities that they can emulate as role models.
- Academic Quality Assurance in OLA College of Education
The quality of teaching, learning, and research in tertiary education has become a major priority for national development. Tertiary education is central to economic and political development and is vital to competition in a globalized society. Thus, tertiary institutions are challenged to adjust their program structures, curricula, teaching and learning methods to adapt to new demands. The recognition of these challenges underscores the importance of establishing a robust internal quality assurance system in OLA College of Education as necessary instruments for addressing today’s challenges.
The emergence of social accountability requires University management and staff to continuously improve quality and promote transparency to obtain the public trust and confidence in their operations.
Quality would therefore be ensured under my administration through the following dimensions: suitability & relevance of curricula; make sure resources are not wasted; that all individual learners & groups are treated equally; views from students & stakeholders are considered; and learners get the services of this college when they need them.
- Upliftment of College
In order not to lose focus of my vision and mission, I will continue to implement a school development plan which will secure continuous school improvement, consistent with the strategic plan, monitor and evaluate the performance of the school as per trust policies, respond and report to the local governing body as required. I will ensure that management, finances, organizations, and administration of the school support the vision and priorities of the trust. I will again ensure that school policies and practices take account of national and local requirements. Again, I will monitor, evaluate and review the impact of policies, priorities, and targets of the school in practice, and take action if necessary. I will ensure that all those involved in the institution running are committed to its aims, motivated to achieve them, and involved in meeting long, medium- and short-term objectives and targets which secure the educational success of the school and the trust as a whole.
- Educational Leadership and Management
As a past student of OLA training college now OLA College of Education and with my thirty years of experience in teaching in general, thirteen years at the tertiary level as a senior management member and a lecturer. I have risen through the ranks as a certified teacher through to Assistant Director II in Ghana Education Service (GES) and then a lecturer to senior lecturer who occupied a senior management position in Technical University. I will be able to use every experience to carry out the vision and the mission of the institution.
BRIEF PROFILE OF DR. MRS. REGINA OKYERE-DANKWA
Dr. Mrs. Regina Okyere-Dankwa is an academician who holds a Ph.D. in Social Studies. She is also a Senior Lecturer with almost 30 years of teaching experience with almost 4 years of senior management experience in a tertiary institution. An alumni of Our Lady of Apostles (OLA) Teacher Training College. Her research interests are in the areas of Quality Assurance in Higher Institutions, Gender Issues, Women, and Education for Development and Organizational development in the developing country context.
She has been actively involved in Gender Mainstreaming and in setting up the Gender Office, planning, training of staff and students for academic quality assurance in her institution. In this capacity, she has also been involved in the conduct of training workshops, follow-ups of women in communities. She has been instrumental with the team that develops policies for Koforidua Technical University in general and she developed policies for Quality Assurance Directorate, Gender Unit, and Affirmative Action policy for female admission to Engineering and Applied Sciences at Koforidua Technical University specifically. She was the Dean of International Programmes and Institutional Linkages of Koforidua Technical University.
Dr. OkyereDankwa obtained a 3-Year Post Secondary Teacher Training Certificate in Education from then OLA Training College, Cape Coast between 1987 – 1990 and subsequently went ahead to obtain a Diploma in Education in Social Studies between 1997 – 2000 and a Bachelor of Education in social studies in 1997 – 2001 at the University of Education, Winneba, Ghana, where she majored in Political Science, Women in Community Development, She further went ahead to obtain Master of philosophy in Social Studies at the University of Winneba between 2004 – 2006 where she specialized in Education, Community Development, Gender Issues, Women’s Empowerment.
Her passion for knowledge and interest in academia led her to pursue further studies where she obtained her Ph.D. in Social Studies between 2012 – 2015 from the University of Education, Winneba, with Specialization in Women, Education for Development. Thereafter, she was awarded a Doctorate Degree in Social Studies in 2015.
She has contributed enormously to her field and has developed a framework on admission of students with disabilities to enhance the inclusive Education Policy by the Government (Inclusive Education policy implementation plan 2015-2019), in April 2019. In December 2018, She Developed a Policy for the Quality Assurance Directorate. She has so many scholarly initiatives to ensuring quality in higher institutions to her credit.
She has taken many professional courses abroad and has presented her research findings at different international conferences. She has also received training on higher education management from local and international organizations and has gained enormous practical administrative experience in University administration.
She has taught and supervised undergraduate and postgraduate (M.Phil.) students with diverse backgrounds. She has also chaired many Boards in the Technical University such as Disciplinary Committee (Re-sit Examination), Committee to monitor the implementation of decisions at the management retreat, Policy Committee, Quality Assurance Board, Investigative Committee, Constitution of Disciplinary Committee on Alleged Case of Larceny, Constitution of Disciplinary Committee on Examination, Malfeasance, Constitution of Disciplinary Committee on Investigative Committee on Staff and others.
Community service and other notable achievements
Dr. Okyere-Danwa rose through the ranks and has been at the forefront, providing academic leadership in relevant sections of the Technical University. She became Senior Lecturer/ Dean of the International Programmes & Institutional Linkages section of the University by monitoring and coordinating all internationally related activities of the university among others. She headed Quality Assurance Directorate from March 2017 to December 2019 as the Director of Quality Assurance of the University during her tenure, she led the directorate to established Co-ordination of Quality Assurance processes in teaching, learning, Research, and the Evaluation of quality assurance processes in teaching, learning and research just to mention a few.
As Dean and a Representative of the Quality Assurance Directorate on the Information and Communication Steering Committee, She gave policy direction with regards to the Management, installation, maintenance, and security of information and communication technology services in the university.
She has been considered a respected scholar, teacher, and entrepreneur by professional colleagues by attaining so many certifications and awards, in 2017. In 2004 she was adjudged the second best Teacher in the 2nd Cycle-General Category in the New Juaben Municipal Education. And also the Most Dedicated Teacher in the 2002/2003 academic year, Koforidua Secondary Technical School. Again, the Most Dedicated Form Mistress in the 2002/2003 academic year, Koforidua Secondary Technical School.
Her contributions and ecclesiastical responsibilities in Catholic Church includes member of the Catholic Diocese of Koforidua, Facilitator and Mentor: Konrad Adenauer Stiftung/ Christian Mother’s Association, Trained Young Women in Koforidua Diocese.
Dr. Okyere-Dankwa is a Christian and she is married to Dr. Seth Okyere-Dankwa (Dean, Faculty of Applied Science and Technology in Koforidua Technical University) with 2 children, Elvis and Ellen.
Source: News Desk, Colleges of Education Weekly Journal