Founder and President of the Ashesi University, Dr. Patrick Awuah

Founder and President of Ashesi University has stated that changing the culture of university students positively is not a difficult task as it appears.

According to Dr. Patrick Awuah, “The student body of any university completely turns around every four years. The student body of a high school turns around every three years. It means that within a four-year period, you can completely change the culture of an organisation at the higher level.”

He said to positively change the culture of students, the institution has to strongly engage with students.

“You have to have a very deep immersion in their conversations and experiences. And you should also look at it by engaging with the final year students, especially those in student government. If you do this consistently, in over a period of four years, you’d be amazed that you could have a completely different culture on a university campus.”

Dr. Awuah said that even though critics say it is easy to implement such culture on a small campus as Ashesi University, he said that it is possible even with much larger campuses.

“I would suggest to them that large universities have colleges, they have schools, they have departments. And so, you can again engage in the same way at the departmental level, or the level of the college which is smaller and achieve the results that you want within a four-year period.”

Speaking on JoyNews’ NewsFile Saturday, he said looking at the growth of Ashesi University these past 20 years, it is evident that establishing a deep culture of integrity in an institution of higher learning in Ghana is possible.

“You actually build a tremendous amount of economic value by building an integrity and trusted society,” he said.

He added that there are four ways to foster such cultures in our Ghanaian universities.

These, he said are:

  1. Have an enforced code of conduct: Code of conduct that is not something written on paper but is something that is lived and enforced by the institution.
  2. Leaders, Faculty and Staff modelling the right behaviour: Behaviour surrounds transparency, accountability, fairness, truthfulness.
  3. Curriculum reform that encourages students, compels students to be engaged in intellectual questions around what constitutes a good society, what is integrity and why is it important:
    You cannot get students to imbue these values, if you just preach at them. When you just tell them that it is so. There must be an engagement where they are processing and understanding why this is important.
  4. Embed the values into the culture of the organisation.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.