The English language can be interesting. The more you build your vocabulary, the more exciting it becomes.
The word ‘ward’, is one of those with numerous meanings. In one breath, it means the name given to a child who is watched over by someone other than his parents. In another, it means a separate room in a hospital, typically one allocated to a particular type of patient. Yet it also connotes an administrative division of a city or municipality.
The grammarians call such words homonyms or multiple-meaning words. It makes you wonder why authorities in our basic and secondary educational institutions use ‘ward’ instead of children to describe their students.
I guess it may be because some of the pupils or students may have guardians rather than biological parents.
Well, this intricacy of the Queen’s language is something that every product of our Free Senior High School (SHS), who participated in the 2021 edition of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and scored grade C6 or better, in English Language should know. Otherwise, going to university may be feel like heaven. But going through the course, will be hellish.
I say so because whether it is Medicine, Accounting, Law, Pharmacy, Banking or Journalism one intends to pursue, the medium of instruction is English Language. A basic mastery of the Queen’s language is therefore a sine qua non for success in the university.
It is not just about the English Language. So those of you whose younger brothers and sisters are in SHS, please bring this cry of an unnamed university lecturer, which is circulating on social media, to their attention, . Tell them to forward it to the teachers, headmasters and managers of their schools:
“Dear secondary school teachers and school owners, please help the students and the public by ensuring that students in your school write their examinations by themselves and merit the grades they brandish on their WASSCE results.
We are tired of seeing students with A1 in Mathematics but cannot resolve the smallest of fraction. A student with distinctions in Physics and Chemistry but knows next to nothing about chemical reactions or energy conversion.
I had to ask some year 1 students to look for a tutorial teacher to help them with JHS 3 and SHS1 Mathematics yesterday. The whole 16 of them in my Engineering class with excellent WASCE results are visibly confused at the sight of any arithmetic work. Their last semester performance betrayed the several A1s and B3s on the WAEC results they carry about.
These students you help to acquire grades they can't defend are usually frustrated in the Ivory Tower. Save them a voyage of pain and regrets in the future by ensuring that they are well tutored and allowed to prepare and write their examinations unaided.
Please never say ‘I don't care about it’ today but who knows what? Any of these students in the near or distant future could become the nurse to attend to you when taken ill or could be your child or your grandchild’s nurse or doctor.”
That’s a word, to the wise from a concerned university don.
The WASSCE results
‘And nooow!!, the resuuuults aaaare out!!!’
According to the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), a total of 446,352 candidates, made up of 221,439 (49.6 %) males and 224,913 (50.4 %) females from 965 schools sat for the 2021 WASSCE in September this year.
Out of the number, only 54.11% of the 446,352 candidates obtained pass marks (A1 to C6) in Mathematics and 54.08% passed in English.
This means 45.89% will not be able to gain admission into any of our universities during the 2021/2022 academic year. Very sad if you ask me. But ‘na who cause am?’
Expectedly, the passers are rejoicing but the non-passers are gnashing their teeth. When mum and dad were advising you to shun the WhatsApp, Instagram, Flikr, Snap Chat and TikTok, you thought we did not know ‘what’s up’.
Now the chickens have come home to roost. You are going to burden your parents with extra cost for remedials- money which could have been put to better use for your future.
Enough of salt to injury though. But I thought it would serve the purpose of deterring your juniors from taking a leaf from your bad example. My wish is that they copy the good example of those who came out with flying colours.
And ooh. I am part of those rejoicing because my daughter Erica, has passed, not to my expectation though, but she did very well- Two B2s and Six B3s. God has granted her admission into one of my alma maters, University of Ghana, Legon.
It is with this feeling of pride that I wish to throw light on possible courses your ward can pursue in university if they studied Science, Arts or Business at the SHS level.
For selfish reasons, I wish to focus on my alma maters; University of Ghana (UG-https://admission.ug.edu.gh/applying/) Legon, Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA -https://www.gimpa.edu.gh/academics/admissions/) and Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ- https://gij.edu.gh/how-to-apply/).
The ‘Ivy League’ universities in Ghana- ‘Wunti asiɛa dɛɛdi’.
The general eligibility criteria
An applicant for admission to a degree programme in any of the above mentioned tertiary institutions must have at least credits (A1 - C6 in WASSCE and A – D in SSSCE) in English, Core Mathematics and Integrated Science (for Science related programmes) or Social Studies (for non-Science related programmes).
In addition, applicants for Science related programmes, must have credits in three Science related elective subjects- Physics, Chemistry, Biology and E-Mathematics.
Those applying for General Arts/Business related programmes also need credits (A1 - C6 in WASSCE and A – D in SSSCE) in three elective subjects in their respective disciplines.
The lesser an applicant’s total Aggregate, the better.
For the uninitiated, the aggregate is calculated based on which alphabet your ward obtained as a grade per subject- A1 = 1, B2 = 2, B3 = 3, C4 = 4, C5 = 5, C6 = 6, D7 = 7, E8 = 8 and F9 (Fail) = 9.
Stated differently, and using the two extremes, eight grade A1s = Aggregate 8, whereas eight grade E8s = Aggregate 64. As for grade F9, no body wishes it for even an enemy.
As a parent, this is where you have to shine your eyes. Don’t let the young ones deceive you that if their Aggregates are higher, it means they have done very well. The reverse is the truth.
You can see the cut off points for the various programmes in most universities here- https://ghanadmission.com/ug-cut-off-points/.
The courses offered by UG, GIMPA and GIJ
It is the case that the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) was purposed as a science-based university from inception. But the ‘gist’ out there is that even alumni of KNUST salute their ‘Legonite’ counterparts when they meet on the science field.
University of Ghana offers many science-based bachelor programmes such as Biological Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Physical Sciences, Physiotherapy, Nursing, Midwifery, Dietetics, Medical Laboratory, Occupational Therapy, Radiography and Respiratory Therapy, to mention a few.
For the business-oriented student, the University of Ghana offers a plethora of courses you can select from; BSc Administration with many options- Accounting, Banking and Finance, Insurance, Marketing, E-commerce & Customer Management, Human Resource Management, Health Services Management and Public Administration.
So does GIMPA. Courses such as BSc in Business Administration with Specialisations in Marketing, Accounting, Procurement, and Supply Chain Management, Project Management, Human Resource Management, BSc Management information System, BSc Information and Communication Technology and BSc Computer Science.
Candidates who are desirous of pursuing courses in the arts are spoilt for choice at the University of Ghana - School of Law, School of Arts, School of Languages, School of Social Sciences, School of Performing Arts, Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research, Institute of African Studies, Maria Sibylla Merian Institute for Advanced Studies in Africa, Regional Institute for Population Studies, and Centre for Social Policy Studies, Centre for Migration Studies.
These Schools, Institutes and College will definitely sort you out.
And those who want to venture into communications, the Ghana Institute of Journalism should be your destination. You can choose from, a two-year Diploma in Communication Studies, four/three year BA in Communication Studies or two-year BA in Communication Studies.
Over the years, these universities have offered quality education at affordable fees.
University of Ghana for instance is charging REGULAR Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science Students, GHC1,516.00 and GHC2,106.00 respectively. Whereas their FEE PAYING counterparts have to pay GHC3,990.00 and GHC5,385.00 respectively. (https://www.ug.edu.gh/aad/fees).
GIMPA's fees are not too different- GHC2,200.00 for Bachelor's degree programmes (https://ghanadmission.com/gimpa-fees-structure/).
So is GIJ's- the fee for Bachelor's degree programmes is GHC2,520.00. (https://gij.edu.gh/schedule-of-fees/).
How cool is that?
If for any reason, you could not apply for your ward. It may be too late. But who knows, a window of opportunity may open.
Make sure you provide all the required information on the online application platforms and update it as and when necessary.
The rest is for God to do. But knowing Him as the one who does not start what he would not complete, rest assured that He can do it when you apply.
Registration on day of reopening
Whether you are yet to know your fate or you have already been admitted and given a letter, the day of reckoning is coming.
Freshers and their parents now have to brace ourselves for the needless long winding queues on the campuses on the first day of reopening.
From my experience so far, which is very pleasing, I want to believe that UG, GIMPA and GIJ authorities will not put me to shame by making us queue in the sun to undertake another registration manually on campus as obtained last year.
I anticipate a situation where our wards would walk in the first day, straight into a hall for orientation. No needless ‘wahala’. It is doable.
It’s time to go
Sometimes, I have a feeling that we Ghanaians, intentionally inflict hardships on ourselves.
Twenty years ago, I was at home in New York when my brother returned from work to announce joyously that his few months old daughter’s Birth Certificate had been mailed to him. Her Green Card and Passport followed in similar fashion.
If this could happen 20 years ago in America and we, in Ghana, have invested so much in Information Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure as Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia speaks so beautifully about, why do we make our young ones go through that tortuous period of standing in the sun awaiting their turns to register manually for whatever reason, when they have applied, been admitted and registered online.
Why can’t we use the same platform to register the admitted candidates, such that they walk to campus on reopening day knowing which venue to go to for orientation?
The purpose of technology is to make life easier. And that’s what the developed countries use it for. Let it not happen that on 10th January, 2022, what happened on UG, UPSA and ATU campuses, regarding long winding queues trending on social media, will repeat itself.
The art of Management is drawing lessons from projects executed in the past and ensuring that the downsides are prevented from recurring.
UG, GIMPA and GIJ, my neck is on the chopping board for giving you this hype. Please don't 'do me so'.
Auf Wiedersehen – That’s goodbye in German.
Let God lead. Follow Him directly. Not through any human.
The writer works with Myjoyonline.com. Email- email@example.com
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