Over 400 Senior High School (SHS) students have benefited from the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) free vacation classes programme organised for students living within the La-Nkwantanang Madina municipality and its environs.
The six-week intensive classes earmarked for pre-SHS, SHS and remedial students ended on Friday, August 9, 2019, with some participants expressing gratitude to the University for the rare opportunity given them to study in a tertiary environment for the first time.
Over the period, participants were taken through lessons in subjects including Mathematics, Integrated Science, English, French, ICT and an introductory course in Leadership. Aside enjoying state-of-the-art teaching facilities on campus, the students also had unbridled access to free WiFi, library and medical service.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the programme, the Member of Parliament for Madina and Minister of State at the Office of the Vice President, Mr. Abubakar Boniface Saddique lauded UPSA for their community service initiative and urged other tertiary institutions within the constituency to introduce similar programmes to complement government’s ongoing free-SHS policy.
Alhaji Saddique, who was also elated over the high turnout, recounted that but for the scholarship he enjoyed as a child under government’s Northern Development Scholarship Scheme, his dream of attending the University would have hit the rocks.
“As a beneficiary [myself] of government’s Northern Scholarship Scheme when I was a child, I relish every gesture or initiative aimed at supporting the indigent in society through free education. This is why when I was the minister for Inner Cities and Zongo Development, I initiated the literacy for all programme under my social intervention module to rid the children off the streets during vacation,” he said.
The Vice-Chancellor of UPSA, Professor Abednego Feehi Okoe Amartey expressed his delight that his vision of making the University relevant to the community has actualized through the implementation of this free-tuition classes programme.
“I am very delighted to see this day. Delighted because the UPSA Community Action Initiative started as a simple idea to make UPSA relevant in the community it finds itself. As a University with the vision to be nationally entrenched, regionally relevant and globally recognized, this initiative was one of the ways of fulfilling this obligation we have given ourselves,” he said.
Prof. Amartey also commended the lecturers for their sacrifices towards the realization of the initiative saying: “special applause goes to all the lecturers for voluntarily dedicating themselves to offer free tuition to participants, even though they knew they needed respite for another busy semester ahead. I want you to know that your sacrifices have surely not gone unnoticed.”
Coordinator for the programme, Mr Mohammed Sadat, delivering his report, revealed that although close to 800 students registered for the maiden edition, only 425 students showed up due to the ongoing double-track educational system. He said despite this and other few challenges, the programme was a huge success.
This notwithstanding he said his outfit had taken note of some of the loopholes and will address them in subsequent editions.
Mr Sadat is, therefore, calling on corporate organizations and other philanthropists to support the initiative to expand service to cater for the expected high enrolments next academic year.
The Chief Director, Ministry of Inner Cities and Zongo Development, Mrs Gifty Mahama Biyira, who represented the minister, Dr Mustapha Hamid, said the ministry is commitment to assisting social interventions that seek to ameliorate poverty and illiteracy amongst the citizenry. She thus pledged her outfit’s support to making the UPSA free vacation classes programme an annual one.
Meanwhile, some students who exhibited academic excellences and discipline throughout the period were awarded by the University.
The free-tuition vacation classes initiative for SHS students is the brainchild of the Vice-Chancellor of UPSA, Professor Abednego Feehi Okoe Amartey who upon assumption of office in January 2017, itinerated a vision of making the University relevant its community. The programme is administered by the Language Centre of University under its Community Action Initiative.
The six-week intensive class began on July 3, 2019 with about 100 students. The numbers, however, soared by the day as news of the programme went viral. It ended on 9th August, 2019 with 425 students in attendance.