Public varsities must consider mergers – Goski Alabi

Public universities in the country must consider mergers to be rated among the best in the world, Professor Goski Alabi, Dean at the Centre for International Education and Collaboration (CIEC) at the ‎University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), has proposed.

“It is not mergers of the private universities alone but it is even the mergers of the public universities, because, from an international point of view, higher education is a big business right now and there are different forms of marketing tactics that are being employed.

For ratings and rankings purposes, countries themselves, at the national level, have strategies for the development of tertiary education because it is no longer a local competition, it has become a global competition; higher education is global business. So, we need to look at it from that point of view,” she told the B&FT in an exclusive interview.

Currently, there are about 10 public universities as well as 72 private universities operating in the country.  However, the University of Ghana is the only institution ranked by major university ranking associations.

According to the 2017 edition of Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, one of the foremost global ranking institutions, the University of Ghana was the only Ghanaian university that made an appearance between 601 and 800th, and came in at 125th   among the BRICS & Emerging Economies.

Other universities including the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), the University of Cape Coast, and the University for Development Studies (UDS), top-ranked schools in the country, were not even placed among the rankings in 2017.

Currently, South Africa has seven institutions in The World University Rankings with the University of Cape Town leading the African continent at 148th.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal, a 2004 merger of the University of Natal and the University of Durban-Westville, currently ranks between 501-600th on the global ranking and comes 58th in the BRICS & Emerging Economies ranking.

Prior to the merger, both universities were nowhere near the top-ranked institutions of higher learning on the continent.

The ranking’s methodology uses performance indicators that are grouped into five areas; teaching-the learning environment; research-volume, income and reputation; citations-research influence; international outlook-staff, students and research; and industry income-knowledge transfer.

Due to the poor positioning of Ghana’s premier institution of higher learning, Professor Alabi is of the view that, for example, if the University of Ghana could merge with either the University of Cape Coast or the KNUST, a Ghanaian institution could rank higher than the current level.

“Currently, ratings and rankings of universities are based on the quantum of research output. About 75 to 80percent is based on research output. It is not just the quality of the research but it is also the quantum of the research,” Prof. Alabi said.

She added that what many countries are doing now is engineering the merger of universities so they can place higher and attract more students and earn higher income.

The University of the West of Scotland, for instance, was created from the merger of several institutions including the University of Paisley, Bell College of Technology, Craigie College of Education and Dumfries and Galloway College of Nursing.

“With University of the West of Scotland, they brought together the smaller institutions. If you go to South Africa they have the University of KwaZulu Natal, which is a merger of several institutions.

From the work I do, I have gotten the opportunity to visit and access some of these institutions. You sit with the authorities and ask the rationale behind some of these things and they tell you one of them is to enhance our performance on the global rankings,” she added.

According to her, to be on the global rankings, it is about how much research an institution can put out there, not just the quality but also the quantity. “In global rankings there is a threshold and if a university does not meet that threshold it cannot participate”, stressing that “your name will not even appear.”

In the past, the calls for university mergers have mainly been directed to only private universities as most of them lack the capacity to operate independently.

Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, in an interview with the B&FT said that majority of private universities in the country lack the capacity to operate independently, calling for mergers for struggling ones to ensure quality in the country’s education system.

“If some of the private universities, which lack the capacity, will merge to make sure we bring quality to the system, it will be in the right direction. Because the intent is to make money, it is business as usual. But on the flip side of it, we should also think about quality. The products that will come out of the university should be able to fit into the job market.”

Source: Benson AFFUL & Bernard Yaw ASHIADEY/thebftonline.com/Ghana

Maiden inaugural lecture features Prof. Goski Alabi

The University of Professional Studies Accra (UPSA) has held its first inaugural lecture by hosting Professor of Quality Management and Leadership (Mrs.) Goski Alabi. The lecture titled Quality of Higher Education in Ghana reflected tireless years of research and analysis as she dissected the problem of high unemployment among university graduates and its relationship to Ghana’s inadequate higher education system.

Prof. Goski Alabi who is also the Dean of the Centre for International Education and Collaboration (CIEC) at UPSA noted that  although Ghana has freed itself from colonial control, its education system is yet to be emancipated. “We need to create an educational system that is distinctively Ghanaian, yet globally adaptive and competitive”, she said.

Prof. Alabi made bold assertions and powerful recommendations to help break the “colonialist jail on education” and remedy the “self-limiting thought syndrome” that has stifled graduates’ potential for innovation and critical thinking needed to move the Ghanaian job market and development agenda forward.  She recommends that the higher education system must be re-evaluated and restructured along the four dimensions of quality (relevance, recognition, functionality, and comparability).

She challenged the leadership of UPSA as well as governing bodies of higher education in Ghana to prioritize these changes.

With the angelic voices of the UPSA choir, full audience, and cultural drummers and dancers, the electric atmosphere severed as the perfect complement to the captivating lecture by Professor Alabi.

The lecture was attended by distinguished guests from Ghana and around the world including the UPSA faculty, the King and traditional leaders from Professor Mrs. Alabi’s hometown in Nungua, dignitaries, and academics from other universities.

Professor Goski Alabi’ s new book “ Managing for Excellence and in the 21st Century, the Total Quality Approach” published by Author House will be launched in May 2017 and can be read for more of her views and recommendations on quality improvement.

 

Professor Goski Alabi: An academic revolutionist

Professor Goski Alabi is an academic, total quality management practitioner, and an accomplished entrepreneur with more than 15 years of experience in academia, consultancy and regulation. She combines her experiences from the regulatory field, industry, consultancy and academia to serve on several public, private and international boards and committees.

Professor Goski Alabi has many sides. She’s deeply intelligent, insightful and philosophical, immune to criticism, determined to prove doubters wrong, consistently generous and soft spoken too.

These are some of the adjectives that best portray this enigma of a personality that Professor Goski Alabi is. Currently the professor of Quality Management and Leadership and Dean, Centre for International Education and Collaboration (CIEC) at the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), Mrs. Alabi has, nonetheless, had her staunch critics too.

Yet, the critics themselves would have admired and taken notice of the elegant steps that carried Professor Goski to the recent graduation ceremony of the graduate students of the Otumfuo Osei Tutu II Centre for Traditional Leadership.

When she recently took part in graduating students from the Otumfuo Osei Tutu II Centre for Traditional Leadership, it wasn’t the certificates that these students received nor was it the knowledge they acquired and the new friends made, but the smiles on their faces: smiles of fulfilment of having achieved something so critical to their day to day work was what she enjoyed the most.

“For me, looking at this kind of thing [my achievements] it is very fulfilling because when I interact with them [students], there are smiles on their faces and those smiles give me energy to wake up the next day and do more and more and more for this school and Ghanaians,” she told the B&FT, in this new feature as part of the Women in Leadership Series.

Beautifully dressed in a traditional outfit as the chief protagonist of the Otumfuo Osei Tutu II Centre for Traditional Leadership, the soft spoken educationist comes across as an unassuming woman who loves to be in the background and support others hugging the limelight, but Professor Mrs. Alabi is the leaders’ leader.

To understand why she can, easily, be described as the leaders’ leader, albeit quietly: the one and only educational centre for training the nation’s traditional leaders, the Otumfuo Osei Tutu II Centre for Traditional Leadership, is her brain child, just as she initiated and facilitated the Drolor establishment of the Centre for Strategic Leadership also endowed by a US$100,000 by Nene Boso Adamtey, Suapolo of the Se Traditional Area and Chancellor of the University of Professional Studies.

And since 2014, many traditional rulers from the length and breadth of the country have benefitted from short but intensive courses to enhance their preparedness to serve and lead in community development. The school, which is headed by Lepowura M.N.D. Jawula was initially endowed with GH¢100,000 by Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.

Apart from promoting the training of leadership and management for traditional rulers, she was also the founding dean of one of the most sought after post graduate degrees in the country, UPSA’s School of Graduate Studies programme which has nine unique courses and has trained almost of 1,000 students for the job market.

But for decades Professor Alabi has been in the background, either in the field of consulting for companies and institutions, advocating and influencing policies that encourage the development of quality products and services in the country and internationally or building departments that are now schools on their own, she’s is indeed an enigma that continues to baffle critics at her rise to the top.

Professor Alabi, is not just a builder but a real leader who sees and nurtures leadership qualities in others and many students, faculty members and colleagues have attested to the fact that she takes a personal interest in the affairs of people around her.

Women and leadership

Professor Alabi, who was recently promoted to the rank of full professor, believes firmly in the leadership qualities of women. To her by virtue of what society expects of women, they are natural born leaders.

“You realise that women are always working with people, it can be family members like their husbands or to raise their children to bring about change. These activities tend to bring out the leadership qualities of women. They are always involved in leadership.”

Despite stressing on the fact that women are leaders, one of the things she has noticed and firmly believes is that people always misconstrue being in a leadership position and leadership; to her, the two are not the same.

“Leadership is not what leaders do. Leaders are not always necessarily involved in leadership. Leadership is what leaders and members do together to bring about necessary and constructive change,” she says.

But she believes that whatever and however one gets into leadership, the fact that such a person has gotten into that position does not make them involved in leadership, but rather, their ability to work with other people to bring about some change that is needed makes them leaders.

“I have always maintained that what we lack in Ghana and Africa and many other places is true leadership. We are always accusing our leaders but they alone do not make leadership. It is the combined effort of what they do and what we do together that is a measure of the leadership.”

She adds that leadership is not about a position but leadership can take place either from behind, the side or from the front. To substantiate her point, Professor Mrs. Goski quotes the legendary freedom fighter, Nelson Mandela who once said: “The strongest of leaders are those who lead from behind because they have what it takes to pull the strings and make things happen” and this to her is what makes a leader stand apart from someone in a leadership position.

Gender equality in Ghana

Touching on Ghana’s pursuit of gender equality, Professor Mrs. Alabi lauded the country for being a shining example of gender equality. To her, critical positions including the Chief Justice, the head of the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Electoral Commission boss and others heading other blue-chip enterprises such as the telcos and banks and insurance companies are women.

“It is inspiring to have women in some of the most prominent positions in the country,” she says with a smile.” To her, women in Ghana are doing quite well, and it is inspiring.

But then, at her philosophical and deep thinking best, Mrs. Alabi believes that career women must been seen in a context and not generalised to only women working in corporate institutions or the typical ‘9 to 5’ job.

Citing an example of what she meant, Professor Alabi, who was born in Nungua, a suburb of Accra, and grew up with her grandparents, fish mongers, in a fishing community, she believes the daily routine of these women, from the beach to the oven to the market within a space of 24 hours is more than a career.

“When I was growing up I lived with my grandparents in Nungua and in the community where we lived there were fish mongers. These women hardly had any sleep. They wake up at 3:30am, go and sell smoked fish at Makola market, come back by 6am, do all the accounts, check their children and by 10am they go to the fishing harbour to buy fresh fish and during the day and night, they are smoking the fish. Sometimes you wonder how they sleep.”

With these careers, these women were able to educate their children to the highest levels. “I grew up from such a community. When we say career women these women are career women too. This conversation must be looked at in context.”

Improving more female involvement in academia

On what needs to be done to improve female involvement in academia, Professor Alabi calls for not just education but equitable education.

The current education system does not allow students with a ‘D7’ in English Language, Integrated Science and Mathematics to be enrolled in any tertiary institution. And this policy is what Mrs. Alabi is questioning.

“There must be equity and social justice in education. We see a lot of young women who are not able to enter into the university because of an E or D7. It is not because she is not capable for advanced education but simply because our regulatory system restricts access.”

She went further to ask the rationale behind classifying a grade D7 as a failure.“So if you make five ‘A’s and one D7 you cannot access higher education? But someone will pass through with six ‘C’s?” She believes, as a nation, there is the need for proper introspection to correct some of these issues.

“Do we have substantial evidence to suggest these people are not capable of going to school? Such policies are restricting access to higher education and the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals 4 which talks about access to quality education including open and life-long learning,” she says.

As an entrepreneur, Prof. Goski was co-founder and Consulting Director of Pravda Radio 93.5 fm, an Accra based radio station in Ghana, Now Vision1 Radio.

Goski has vigorous background involvement in national and international policy and has participated in several International Policy and Standards meetings including, Several ISO technical meetings, Four (4) times National Delegate to World Health Assembly, Twice (2) delegate to Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses, in Germany

Prof. Goski also sits on several international, national, corporate and public boards and committees with the following as some selected few, she is  Vice Chair of the African Network for Internationalization of Education (ANIE); Member Executive Board of The African Council for Distance Education (ACDE); was Chairperson of Interim Council of the Accra College of Education (2009-2015); Board Member, National Board for Professional and Technical Examinations (NABPTEX) 2009-2012, Ghana; Member National Codex Committee; Ghana Standards Authority, July 2014 to Date; Member, ISO Technical Committee on Consumer Policy (COPOLCO) July 2014-Date; GSA-National Cocoa Mirror Committee; Certified Member of the Europe – Africa- Caribbean Liaison Committee (COLEACP) Inter Professional Association; Member, Board of the Centre for Local Government Accountability, September 2014 to date; and President and Founder, Consumer Advocacy Centre and Member of the Board.

Challenges as a woman

Despite enjoying the world of academia, Goski’s challenges are numerous, not just because she is a woman but also because she is the wife of the out-going Vice Chancellor of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), Professor Joshua Alabi.

She acknowledges that despite her age, her young looks makes her less appreciated by those who meet her until they speak to her or work with her before they know who she really is. “I am always in my husband’s shadow and for me that is the biggest challenge I face,” she says.

But to underscore how she doesn’t allow criticism and challenges define who she is, Mrs. Alabi says she doesn’t listen to what people say and even though she knows there are numerous gossips about her she forges on without fear or favour.

“I say this is sheer envy and they wish they were like me but they can never be me because I cannot be them. The fact is that I don’t allow people’s opinion to define me. What people are not aware of is what makes me tick and that is when people talk about me and that gingers me to give them something to talk about. I am always looking for something to give people to talk about. Whether it is the way I dress, the work I do or the way I talk, let me give them something to talk about. It’s their problem, it’s not mine.”

Newest initiative

Professor Goski is also associated with the advocacy for quality education including open and life-long learning,” to promote and support the achievement of Sustainable development Goal (4) she says.

For the past four years, she has been working on this project. It is, according to her, one of the long term goals and very soon, I believe this project will provide access to quality education in Ghana and beyond, she adds. .

With two children, Professor Mrs. Alabi academic profile and works which include publications in some of the most credible publications across the globe is impressive and should inspire anyone looking to rise through the ladder of academia.

 

Source: http://thebftonline.com/lifestyle/21858/professor-goski-alabi-an-academic-revolutionist-.html

Ghana’s educational system needs tremendous improvement

The Dean of the Centre for International Education and Collaboration at the university of Professional Studies, Accra, Professor Goski Alabi has decried Ghana’s educational system saying learning outcomes are pegged on a mediocre scale hence the scourge of graduate unemployment in the country.

The Professor of Total Quality Management said the teaching-learning process from the lowest level to the highest level of education has been stagnant for many years although there has been a lot of talk and activity around changing and modifying educational curriculum in the country.

According to her, these processes are not managed with quality assurance in mind or quality management methods in place.

“I feel very strongly that it is time for us as a country to reexamine our educational system and ensure that we have one that works for us, because if it doesn’t work the question of quality needs to be asked and asked strongly or else, we rethink the whole educational system,” she said.

“As a quality management professional, I believe in continual improvement and so I would say that yes, there is some room ¬¬for improvement and that is what we should be looking at.

“Improvement in the way we design our curriculum, our instructional methodology and simply put the way we teach.”
She added “the way we look at the sorts of learning outcomes that we are supposed to achieve, how we know whether what we are doing is working for us or not, whether there is any system at all to ensure that in terms of strict regulation is important.

“For now, we are all just talking, and the graduates are not feeling the expectations of industry. And the whole thing to me is looking like a system of certification instead of education, a scary phenomenon we should shy away from if we want to make global impact and produce for ourselves some quality problem solvers in the country,” she stated strongly.

Professor Alabi will address an inaugural lecture on Wednesday April 26, 2017 where she is expected to raise the key issues regarding the Quality of Education in Ghana.

The lecture is to celebrate he feat of attaining full professorship status in June 2016.

Ahead of the lecture, she has been engaging her followers on some of these key issues on Facebook and other social media platforms.

Tertiary Schools affiliation system exploiting private institutions

Dean of Center for International Education and Collaboration (CIEC) at the University of Professional Studies (UPS), Professor Goski Alabi has questioned the affiliation system practiced in Ghana where private Universities are placed under the auspices of government Universities.

Speaking at her maiden inaugural lecture at the UPS in Accra, Prof Goski Alabi described the affiliation system as an income generating mechanism rather than quality assurance process.

He asserted that the exorbitant charges paid as affiliation fee by Private Universities to mentoring Universities undermine the quality of Education given to students in the country.

‘It is my conceded opinion that affiliation is more of an income generation system for the Mentoring Public institutions in the Ghana than a quality assurance process’

According to Prof. Goski, affiliation fee ranges from 10,000 to 15, 000 dollars as a one-off fee in addition to 2,000 to 5,000 paid annually for each program run in the private Universities.

‘Let me put on record that from 10,000 to 15, 000 dollars as a one off fee in addition to 2,000 to 5,000 dollars per programme per year besides other costs. The current stringent accreditation system we have in Ghana the value truly stares at us at the face.’

Tracing the origin of affiliation back in history, Prof Goski observed that its colonial concept that is has lost its relevance in time.

Book Launch

It is my greatest pleasure to inform and invite you to the launch of my latest book on quality management entitled ” Managing for Excellence in the 21st Century: The Total Quality Approach” published by Author House US.

The launch will be held during the Continental Quality Assurance for Higher Education in Africa , organized by the Africa Union Commission, UNESCO Cluster Office, and AAU .

The book launch will be chaired by the Secretary General of the AAU, Prof. Etiene Ehile and launched by the president of GUNI Africa Prof. Okebukola, a UNESCO Kalinga Laureatte and Director of the UNESCO Institute for African Culture and International Understanding.

The book is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It has been listed and exhibited by the American Library Association at the 2017 MidWinter Exhibition and listed to appear in New York Times.

You can follow this link for a preview of this great book.

Thank you.