The Higher Education industry in Ghana has improved over the years with the springing up of a number of private tertiary institutions. With over 150 tertiary institutions (public and private) accessibility has become more open than ever before yet with extreme competition as many of these colleges/universities offer similar academic programmes. In the mist of this competition the Presbyterian University, Ghana (PUG) with primary focus on teaching, learning, research and outreach, continues to stand out as a centre of excellence.
Brief Historical Background
The Presbyterian University, Ghana was established by the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) in the year 2003. The University obtained Presidential Charter to become autonomous university in August, 2022.
The PUG comes at the back of rich history of the PCG in the provision of formal education in Ghana after establishing the first primary school in the country in 1843. The Church went ahead to establish the Presbyterian Training College (PTC) at Akropong, the first higher educational institution in Ghana and second in West Africa after Fourah Bay College in Sierra Leone. This set out the ambitious vision by the Church to open up the country to formal education. The PCG, since then has established 2,000 schools comprising 550 Nurseries, 1,013 Primary Schools, 401 Junior High Schools, 25 Senior High Schools, five (5) Vocational Institutes, five (5) Colleges of Education and one (1) Nursing Training College.
The PUG started with the Okwahu Campus at Abetifi Kwahu and it has since developed into five campuses across the country with six Faculties running Diploma, Higher National Diploma, Undergraduate and Graduate programmes. The other campuses are Akuapem (Akropong), Asante Akyem (Agogo), Tema (Community 11) and Kumasi (Santasi).
A green space between the lecture blocks on Okwahu Campus
The PUG, established as a non-profit, non discriminatory institution was conceived in response to the challenge presented by the high demand for student admission in Ghanaian Universities (low access), the perceived lowering of academic standards, and the erosion of moral and ethical values in the Ghanaian Society. Hence, the design and structure of its academic and non-academic programmes are underpinned by their relevance to the 21st Century development needs of the country and the global environment.
The E-Learning Platform
Universities world over have e-learning platforms to augment the lecture hall’s face-to-face interactions with students. Presbyterian University, Ghana is no exception as it has gone further to improve its e-learning platform to make teaching and learning more efficient for both lecturers and students. Currently, the platform is used for tuition, learning and examinations. The efficiency of the system has created a flexible learning environment for the students, reducing the academic stress on them with the opportunity to study at their own pace. To avoid challenges of internet connectivity and access, learning and examinations on the platform are structured to provide flexibility in order that students are able to access the platform at their convenient times yet without undue advantage over others.
Notwithstanding the successes chalked with the e-learning platform, the University has switched onto the Ghanaian Academic Research and Education Network (GARNET) platform which operates a world-class network infrastructure and services linking Ghanaian Research and Education community to support teaching, learning, and research among Higher Education Institutions in Ghana and by extension, connect its members to Global Research and Education Network communities. By this the Presbyterian University, Ghana stands the following benefits:
- Affordable internet subscription
- Technical support and Training
- Access to the research database across members of GARNET and West African Research Network (WACREN)
- Developing distance learning and teaching platforms
- Hosts its own Data Servers thereby securing and protecting University information and data.
We are optimistic that by joining this platform, the research capacity of our Faculty and students would be enhanced further with free internet connectivity always available on campus.
A section of freshers at a matriculation ceremony at the Akuapem Campus
Learning Environment and Job Prospects
The PUG has over the years couch a niche for a comprehensive academic work that ensures students experience quality teaching and learning. The University has achieved this by putting in place a number of measures. For students to be abreast of the world’s modern trends in their field of study, the University has set up modern computer laboratories in all the five campuses with high speed internet connectivity to support faculty and students learning and research.
Moreover, every campus has a well furnished and stocked library for students and faculty research. These libraries are complemented by the University’s electronic library and the e-learning platform where they have the opportunity to interact with their lecturers and source relevant electronic books and materials for their study. Lecture rooms are also furnished with audio visual equipments to support teaching and learning. The University by far has created a modern environment for a successful academic work.
A section of the University’s IT infrastructure at the Okwahu Campus
PUG finds students development critical to successful career and enhanced job prospects and for that reason, industrial attachment, seminars by industry players for students, practical presentations of projects, and final year project work form integral part of students training. This is designed to build in students the ability to work effectively in teams and individually with less supervision in pursuit of career or further studies.
The University has invested significantly in recruiting well qualified and experienced staff over the years to ensure that its goal of being a world-acclaimed university of excellence is achieved. This posture has been a success story as the University’s Nursing and Physician Assistantship programmes are adjudged to be among the best top five in Ghana by their professional bodies from their performance in the licensure examinations taken after the students have completed their study in the University.
Students’ life and Activities
Life at PUG creates fond memories as authorities ensure students are well accommodated to protect them from all the challenges that come with renting places for accommodation. The University manages standard hostel facilities in its campuses. These hostels have support staff to reduce the work load on students in keeping up the facility. These hostels accommodate at most four students in a room. The University recognizes the critical nature of providing accommodation that ensures comfort to students as in many cases it is the first time a student is living on his/her own separated from their family or relations.
The PUG believes in the need for students to nurture their talent. It has over the years provided support to activities that promote the development of talents in the area of performing arts (music and drama) and also sports. This has resulted in students of the University excelling in the Private Universities Students Association of Ghana (PUSAG) Games. The PUG Sports Team was adjudged the best Sports Team at the 2019 Games held at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi. The conducive environment has also promoted the springing up of various music and drama groups, and individual artists who perform on various platforms including formal University gatherings. These have facilitated a relaxed environment for a successful academic life.
Trophies and medals the University won at the 2019 PUSAG Games at KNUST
Programme choices are usually underpinned by career expectations and an incorrect career choice could result in an individual channeling all efforts and resources into a wrong course. It is in this light that the University has put together a strong support system to assist students make the right decisions at every stage of their study.
The Chaplaincy. This Section of the University is at the centre of providing guidance and counseling support for students in matters regarding academic and personal issues.
The Chaplaincy Section leads the development and implementation of programmes and activities that enforce the basic educational philosophy of the Presbyterian University, Ghana which hangs on the principle of training the Head, the Heart and Hands (the three Hs). This is designed to inculcate in both students and staff a strong moral fabric which impel the demonstration of the University’s core values in their daily lives. For emphasis, the core values are Faith in God, which allows both staff and students to focus on developing a life of Integrity, and imbibe Discipline leading to Commitment to duty and Excellence. We believe that knowledge and skills alone do not necessarily translate into social development but that the people who serve as the agents of social transformation must be persons who uphold high standards of the aforementioned values to deal with all forms of social vices militating against social cohesion and development.
In addition to the quintessential responsibilities earlier mentioned, the Chaplaincy sees to the organization of the following programmes in the University:
Mid-week service: this is a one-hour service organized on every Wednesday for both staff and students – it engages variety of Christian activities.
Family/Covenant service: this is held once a month, and it is attended by staff (and their families) and students. It is meant to establish good rapport between staff and students for a cohesive community living.
Denominational service: this is organized by the students of the various denominations on every Sunday except Family/Covenant service Sundays.
P-SICE: the Chaplaincy Section facilitates the participation of students in the Presbyterian Students In Church Evangelism (P-SICE) programme every year.
Women of Influence: this group, which operates as a wing of the Presbyterian University Christian Fellowship (PUCF) gives special attention to women issues – spiritual growth and other needs.
Life Values Class: this is organized for all fresh students who are admitted into the University every academic year. It is aimed at inculcating the core values of the University in them and also help them find value in their stay throughout their study in the University.
Musical programmes: the Chaplaincy Section promotes the organization of musical programmes throughout the academic year. Among the musical programmes are:
- Hallelufesto – this is organized by the NUPS-G Choir once a year. The beauty of this programme comes from the fact that alumni NUPS-G members join their colleagues in school for this concert.
- Praise Harvest – this is organized by the Devine Generation music group which operates as a wing under the PUCF.
- Proskuneo – this musical concert is organised annually by the Charismatic Students Fellowship on the eve of graduation for the graduands. It is meant to offer opportunity to all graduands to praise God for His grace towards them in the successful completion of their study.
- Carol service – this is annual event which brings a good number of Senior High Schools and tertiary institutions in the University’s catchment area to the University campus for a celebration to usher in the Christmas festivities.
Chaplaincy week – this is also an annual event which focuses on variety of Christian and social activities involving staff and students. Among these activities are house to house evangelism, health screening in local communities, blood donation, prisons visitation, orphanage visitation, hospital/clinic visitation, clean up exercises among others.
Leadership Training Seminar – the Chaplaincy Section facilitates the organization of this leadership seminar for all student leaders elected/appointed for an academic year. The objective is to train them to be able to discharge their responsibilities to the best interest of the University. The one-week seminar takes the student leaders through topics in the areas of management, communication, finance, audit, planning and fundraising.
Images from one of the musical festivals on Campus
Scholarship. The University offers partial scholarship of up to 10% on tuition fees to all Presbyterian students offering undergraduate and diploma programmes in the institution. The students enjoy this scholarship facility throughout the period of their study. The University has instituted flexible payment plan (four installments within an academic year) for all its students to ease the pressure on students who may have financial challenges to pay their fees.
International students. The University’s Centre for International Education (CIE) oversees the welfare of all international students. Among the services offered to the students, the CIE facilitates the processes for International Students to obtain permit and passport from the country’s immigration service. An experienced and widely travelled officer is in charge of the CIE.
Safe and Friendly Environment
The University attaches prime importance to the safety of all its students and staff. The institution provides adequate security in the various hostels and campuses to protect life and property.
Majority of our campuses are located in semi urban areas with serene environment coupled with good climate conditions. These areas have average temperature of 23 degrees Celsius throughout the year. Students are removed from distractions associated with urban life focusing on their academic work and developing a total personality for a successful career.
The University promotes good student – lecturer relationship that allows lecturers to assist students in both academic life and welfare issues. At PUG, supervisors consider the completion of students’ academic work as well as project work as their responsibility. This helps students to complete their programme schedule successfully without frustrations.
Some students from the Akuapem Campus at the Cape Coast Castle on a leisure trip
The PUG is aware of the financial difficulties that students go through sometimes in the course of their study and has instituted measures to reduce the financial burden on students. Tuition fees for programmes are set at competitively moderate levels so that students are able to pay their fees without stress. The average tuition fee for a diploma programme is GH₵2,400 for an academic year; an undergraduate programme costs GH₵3,000 for an academic year; while graduate programme costs an average of GH₵7,000 for the entire programme. To reduce the financial burden on students, the University has a policy of non-sale of academic materials generated by lecturers to students. Libraries in the various campuses are well stocked with relevant books to ensure students do not have to spend extra money on books. Other materials are made available on the University’s e-learning platform for free.
The low standards of living in the communities where majority of our campuses are located reduce considerably the living expenses of the students. Students’ accommodation (which includes all utility bills) in all the campuses costs an average of GH₵1,200 for an academic year. There is a transport system that provides free shuttle services for students in their movement between hostel and campus on daily basis.
Fee Payment: The University has put in place an installment payment plan of four payables within an academic year to help students with financial challenges pay their fees. With the policy, students are required to pay 60 percent of the semester’s fees at the beginning of the semester to register and pay the rest of 40 per cent before the end of the semester. However, Management is always available to grant students with peculiar financial problems, special dispensation regarding the payment of their fees.
Cooperate Social Responsibilities (CSR)
The University sees CSR not as a brand equity programme to improve the University’s image but really as a tradition inculcated in students and staff with the perspective of honouring society with their substance and abilities. The staff and students do this with pride and humility.
Our CSR activities have also seen students and staff make donations to schools, hospitals, orphanages, prisons, needy persons in local communities, technical support to government agencies and departments as well as other voluntary services in the local communities and churches.
Among these voluntary social services is the annual practice by students of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences offering free health screening for people in very remote areas where there are no health centres. Persons with serious conditions are referred to the Presbyterian Hospital at Asante Akyem, Agogo for medical attention.
The Chaplaincy Board visited Forifori Prisons in the Afram Plains to interact with the inmates and donated items to them.
The University runs 17 Undergraduate programmes, an HND programme and seven Graduate programmes across the five campuses. These programmes are designed to meet the demands of the contemporary global job market so as to position our students strategically to be relevant in their acquired requisite skills and knowledge. This has created openings for our students in the areas of best-fit internships as well as permanent job opportunities. The instructional models for these programmes are lectures, role play, interactive discussions, group work, workshops, seminars, presentations, internships, attachments and industrial visits.
The undergraduate programmes are run under six faculties – Health and Medical Sciences, Science and Technology, Development Studies, Education, Law, and School of Business Administration.
The undergraduate programmes include Bachelor of Science in Physician Assistantship, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Bachelor of Science in Mathematics with Statistics, Bachelor of Science in Mathematics with Accounting, Bachelor of Science in Information and Communication Technology, in Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering, Bachelor of Science in Environmental and Natural Resources Management, Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness and Bachelor of Science in International Development.
The others are Bachelor of Laws and Business Administration – Marketing, Human Resource Management, General Management, Banking and Finance, Accounting and Finance.
At the School of Graduate Studies, there are five programmes – MSc. Natural Resources Management, Environmental Health and Sanitation, Financial Risk Management, M.A. International Development Studies, M. Ed. Educational Studies, MPhil in Educational Studies and Master of Public Health.
The Higher National Diploma programme is in Information Communication and Technology.
The Presbyterian University, Ghana has introduce students training concept called Project in Mind, Project in Hand which emphasizes entrepreneurship. The concept which is being piloted in the Departments of Computer Engineering, and Information and Communication Technology requires students who apply to these departments to have a project in mind where lecturers are assigned to the students to help them develop these projects in the course of their study into complete projects that they can embark on when they graduate from the University. The aim of the concept is to make the students self-employed after their university education.
Upon successful piloting, the concept would be strategically implemented in the other departments.
Image from the students entrepreneurship fair at the Okwahu Campus
Centre for Continuous Professional Development
The Centre for Continuous Professional Development (CCPD) oversees the organisation of short certificate courses tailored for various professions. The aim is to offer opportunity for upgrade of knowledge, skills and resilience to improve efficiency and performance at the work place and the society at large. The CPS currently runs certificate in Occupational Health, Safety & Environmental Management, Certificate in Public Service Leadership & Governance, Certificate in Financial Risk Management, Certificate in Labour Law & Human Resource Policy, Certificate in Church Leadership & Administration, Guidance and Counseling, Emotional Intelligence, Strategic Communication among others.
The Alumni Association of the University offers a wide range of support to its members and regular students to ensure that they are abreast of current trends in their field of endeavor. They also offer support to the University regarding developmental projects.
The University, in recognition of the important role the Alumni plays in its life offers discount of up to 30 percent to members of the association who pursue certificate programmes at the University. The aim of this offer is to give members of the association the opportunity to upgrade their professional skills to improve their knowledge base and job performance.
Some executives of the Alumni Association in a group photograph with the President of the University, Prof Ebenezer Oduro Owusu (middle) and the Vice President, Prof Frank Arku (2nd from right).
Conclusion Pursuing higher education at the Presbyterian University, Ghana would not only make you an academically excellent graduate but a personality imbued with integrity, commitment, and discipline with appreciation for hard work orchestrated by faith in God innovation and creativity. Our graduates are made to appreciate the drive to transform society with the instincts of protecting the environment in pursuance to modernization of societies. The Presbyterian University, Ghana understands the global job market and the need to continuously review academic programmes driven by global market demands.