The University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) has established Ghana’s first accredited Online Distance Learning School, to absorb the growing number of prospective students who are unable to access higher education due to limited admission slots in the various tertiary institutions.

The online distance school is expected to roll out selected postgraduate programmes for the 2020/21 academic year. The accredited programmes so far include MBA in Marketing, MBA in Auditing, MBA in Accounting and Finance and MBA in Corporate Governance.

According to Management of the University, the move also forms part of measures to reduce face-to-face tuition and take education beyond the brick and mortar environment as most higher educational institutions employ innovative pedagogies in the 21st century.

Throwing more light on the new format of education, the Dean of the UPSA Distance Learning School, Professor Albert Puni said, the University is well-positioned to roll out effective online distance education with flexible instructional delivery that is engaging, fun and tailored to fit the schedule of all students.

He added that this would allow students to attend lectures from the comfort of their homes, and submit assignments and other coursework at their own convenience.

“We are taking education to the doorstep of students,” he said. “Through our virtual platforms, students can now attend lectures, submit assignments, contribute to class discussion and engage other students online.”

Prof Opuni, in underlying the importance of the system explained that there will be minimal use of data and the internet because students will only go online as and when demanded.

“You don’t need to be online all the time. Students can download instructional materials online and study them offline at their own pace,” he emphasised.

The Director of Documentation and Information Management Centre (DIMC), Dr Edwin Tetteh Ayernor further explained that modules of the various programmes would be mounted on carousel basis – where students would have the privilege of enrolling in one course at a time.

He again revealed that each module has been structured in a five-week period and students will occasionally visit the campus to sit for their end of module examinations.

Dr Ayernor also noted that smaller class size will be employed to facilitate effective teaching and learning as well as to make classes interactional as possible.   

Currently, admissions into various online programmes for the 2020/2021 academic year are ongoing and the first cohort of the online school are expected to commence in September this year.

Meanwhile, the National Accreditation Board in a letter to the UPSA has commended the institution for meeting all requirements for setting up an online distance learning centre.

“Your institution has met the minimum requirement for setting up an online distance learning centre. Your institution’s effort in meeting the Board’s expectation is not only appreciated but worth commending,” the statement said.