As COVID-19 continues to place restrictions on several activities including teaching and learning, OLA College of Education held its 14th graduation ceremony virtually on Saturday, May 15, 2021. All Social Media platforms of the College were used to stream live the ceremony. The platforms included Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
ATL FM stationed at the University of Cape Coast took live coverage of the event on radio and also on their Facebook page.
All the COVID-19 safety protocols were strictly observed by the dignitaries and few graduands who attended the event. Relatively, most of the graduands watched online. The congregation was under the theme “Teacher Professionalism in the Wake of Global Changes in Education”.
Chairman of the College Governing Council; Most Rev. Matthias Nketsiah, Central Regional Minister who doubles as an old student of the College; Hon. Mrs. Justina Marigold Assan, Omanhene of Oguaa Traditional Area; Osabarima Kwesi Atta II, Members of the College Governing Council, Provost-College of Education Studies, UCC; Prof Ernest Davies, Director-Institute of Education, UCC; Prof Christine Adu-Yeboah, Nananom and other dignitaries graced the very colourful occasion.
The College presented 359 graduands this year, comprising of 76 students for Early Grade,222 students for the General (Social Science), and 60 students for Science and Mathematics. Out of the total number of graduands presented,40 students obtained First Class which is the highest so far since the inception of the DBE programme, 143 students obtained Second Class (Upper Division),87 students had Second Class (Lower Division),66 students had Third Class and 23 students having Passed. No student failed. The Overall Best Student award went to Ms. Jemima Kesewaa.
In her address, the Principal of the College, Dr. Mrs. Regina Okyere-Dankwa indicated that the graduating class of 2020 found the latter part of their training caught in the COVID-19 pandemic. They had to study their last two courses online and cut short their student practice in the basic schools because all schools had to be closed at that time. Despite all these, the students were able to braze the storm and all the uncertainties that prevailed at that time and were able to write their final year examinations. The Principal congratulated all graduands of the Class of 2020 for the wonderful accomplishment.
She added that “you the graduands and the staff have displayed the indomitable spirit of the College, the spirit of resilience and the commitment in pursuit of excellence. Even amid the ravaging effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, you did not falter. You remained steadfast until the mission has been accomplished. I salute you!”
The Principal in her address also noted that since she took over the office from her predecessor barely five months ago, there has been a collaborative effort in designing a reform path for the College. The Committee system has been revitalized and been made more functional to befit our status as a tertiary institution. This is making governance in the College more transparent in decision making and has chartered a new course of a more “we-feeling spirit.” She expressed her gratitude for the great enthusiasm shown by the College staff who are always ready to get on board to work.
Again, with the collaborative effort of staff, the concept of re-branding which is part of my vision for the College is being put in place. Currently, a committee has been set up to see to some parts of the infrastructural layout of the College. The signage of the College will be set up in areas leading to the College. Furthermore, the College will be re-demarcated with a new layout befitting the status of a tertiary institution. The services of an architect and a surveyor will be sought to take an aerial view of the College to help in re-designing the campus. The illumination and road network of the College campus will also not be left out in the re-branding process. And I humbly implore the Hon. Central Regional Minister that we will be needing her services to help fulfill this vision.
Dr. Regina Okyere-Dankwa also indicated that Management of the College in its effort to ensure effective blended teaching and learning approach for the semester, had earlier on sealed a contract with Vodafone Telecommunication; the package is the Tertiary Pack 10 from Vodafone and it includes: 5120.00 MB of data, 150.00 mins to all networks and selected countries, 100 SMS, this is monthly. Staff and student teachers now do not worry much about data for virtual teaching and learning.
The Principal also informed the gathering that the College Council has approved for the College to start a water business project with the water treatment plant, a joint project by the SRC and the College. A committee has been set up to seek the services of a consultant to assess the viability of the project.
In the area of collaboration, the International Relations Office of the College, has had initial introductory meetings with Plymouth Marjon University, the UK after which Plymouth Marjon University has promised to send some documents to Management to peruse and arrange another meeting to look at the way forward. The College would be signing MoU with Plymouth Marjon University this month, which is May.
Following a directive of the President to extend the Head of State Award Scheme nationwide, for the benefit of more young people, OLA College of Education, fortunately, has been selected as one of the educational institutions whose students would benefit from this award scheme. The College has also been made an award centre.
Two members of staff who will serve as Award Coordinators of the scheme in the College have attended a briefing at the Regional Coordinating Office.
Uncompleted GETFUND Projects
OLA College of Education continues to grapple with the issue of uncompleted GETFUND projects dotted around the campus. Looking at the increase in enrollment of the first-year students this year, coupled with the fact that teacher trainees might have to spend four years on campus to complete their B.Ed in Basic Education, it goes without saying that there is the need for government and all stakeholders to come on board to help complete these projects. Completion of such projects would go a long way to solve the accommodation needs of the College.
The challenge the College has with staff attrition is very worrying. Indeed, most of the tutors are not satisfied with the kind of remuneration and conditions they receive in the Colleges that do not correspond with the endpoint of their hard work in achieving their academic success. Thus, the moment they finish reading their Ph.D. or are in the process of finishing, they leave the College to seek greener pastures in other tertiary institutions where the remuneration and conditions of service are better. The College has had to suffer such a fate with four of such staff leaving for other tertiary institutions. The Principal made a passionate appeal to all stakeholders especially, to the Ministry of Education, to speed up measures that will encourage the staff in our Colleges to stay.
ADVICE FOR GRADUANDS
My advice for the new professional teachers is that the world, we know, is changing: its technology, its climate, its social structures, and boundaries. It takes no great predictive capacity to see what’s already true and to know that the children that we educate now are of the world’s first truly global generation. Make no mistake, the force of globalization and, specifically, the emergence of virtual learning has become part of us. It is our role as professional teachers to upgrade our skills in IT and ensure that we adapt our knowledge to suit the needs of the children in the basic schools.
The College is very grateful to the Ministry of Education and specifically to GTEC for their continual support and guidance.
We wish to express our heartfelt gratitude to all other stakeholders especially, to SONTURK Enterprise who has always been there for us, continually supporting the College in its trying times. I am highly indebted to my Alumni group, the OLAPSAN fraternity for your support. However, like Oliver Twist, the College is asking for more.
We are also grateful to all the parents and guardians for believing in us and supporting your wards to come this far in their academic pursuits.
SOURCE: Documentation Desk, OLA CoE | News Desk, CoEWJ