The management of the University of Ghana (UG) says the “double track” academic calendar scheduled to commence mid-January 2021 will offer a safe and uninterrupted academic year.
The modular arrangement according to the university will be for the 2021 and 2022 academic year.
This, according to the university is to help minimize the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) on campus among students, lecturers and staff.
It is also to lessen the burden of accommodation for students on campus.
Per the new arrangement, fresh men and final year students will go to school for nine weeks starting mid-January 2021 whilst level 200 and 300 will go between April and June.
Some students have expressed worries about the arrangement and said they were not excited about it.
Some have said the “double track” system was very questionable as they do not know what it entails considering the workload which they think could affect their academic performance.
Others think it would be very stressful for them. There are some who also think that it is very innovative.
But reacting and defending the move, the Pro-Vice Chancellor in charge of students and academic affairs, Professor Nana Aba Appiah Amfo said, “What we are planning to do now, is [that] normally a semester runs for 16 weeks including examinations.”
“This time around this is for the undergraduate students, we are going to have [a total of] nine weeks, six weeks of lessons, teaching, a week of revision and two weeks of examination.”
“We run a course credit system and so it is about contact hours so what this means is that contact hours per week will be increased.”
“[When] everything comes back to normal i.e. have all our students on campus, all four streams and our graduate students as well…, remember that this demands a lot of work on the part of [and] out of our faculty and staff so this is not something anybody wants to be the norm. We will as soon as things are favourable return to normal,” Prof Amfo said.
Last week following the expression of misgivings about the new arrangement, it came to light that student leaders of the University of Ghana gave their approval to the proposal by the management to adopt the ‘double-track’ system for the 2020/2021 academic year.
Head of the teaching and examinations unit of the Academic Affairs Directorate of the University, Mrs Lydia Nyarko-Danquah, stated that leaders of the Students Representative Council and the Graduate Students Association were in a meeting where the academic calendar was discussed.
Her intervention contradicted claims by some students that management of the university took an individual decision.
Mrs Nyarko-Danquah spoke to Radio Univers, a University of Ghana campus radio station and added that there was proper consultation with student leaders on the model it wants to run for the 2020/2021 academic year.
“Initially, we put out a calendar for the start of the semester in November 2020 and that is what was suspended. Before that calendar came out, the student leaders, that is GRASAG and SRC, had a discussion with senior management and that is what came out.”
“On the basis of that calendar, we have this calendar. Everything is the same it’s just that the dates have been updated,” she said
Mrs. Nyarko-Danquah stressed that the decision to allow students to come in batches was in the best interest of students.
She added that the decision was taken in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading among members of the university community.
“We are running the double-track because we care about our students’ health. Covid is with us and we cannot take it for granted. We are running it so we keep to the protocols, keep our students safe and make sure that our students also get the quality that they need,” Mrs. Nyarko-Danquah said.
On the mode of teaching for the academic year, she indicated that lectures will be mainly held online.
“As much as possible, lectures will be held online, but then there are exceptions. It depends on the course and the examiner. But in most cases, we are encouraging our examiners to have their classes online.”
The Management of the University of Ghana on Tuesday, December 22, 2020 released its academic calendar for the 2020/2021 academic year.
They have appointed Monday, January 18, 2021, for the start of teaching activities for newly admitted students and final year students.
Teaching activities will end for these students on Friday, February 26, 2021, after which there will be a two-week period for the main first-semester examination.
The first semester for the level 100s and 400s will end on Sunday, March 21, 2021.
These two groups of students are expected to report between Thursday, June 17, and Sunday, June 20, 2021, for the start of their second semester of the academic year.
First-semester teaching activities for second-year and third-year student will commerce on Monday, April 5, 2021, after a disinfection exercise has been undertaken on the campus.