The programme commenced officially at 8:38pm after some deliberations and discussions about members’ welfare and some Ghanaian culture. The moderator (Mr. Benjamin Ohene Kwapong Baffoe, NUGS-CHINA president 2017/2018) announced that the Guest Speaker (Prof. Jonathan Fletcher) had an emergency and that he had delegated Dr. Robert Akpalu, a Senior Lecturer and the current Dean, School of Education at Valley View University, Ghana.
After an opening prayer by Mr. Victor Agbesi (NUGS-Chengdu Vice President) , the National President(Mr. Collins Sey) delivered the welcome address and introduced some guests. In his speech, the president thanked all members present for availing themselves when the need arises and their continuous support. He also acknowledged the great support the Union had received from the Embassy in China. He proceeded to introduce the guests who were present including; Mr. Abu Osuman (Minister counsellor, Embassy of Ghana, Beijing), Mr. Evans Amoateng (NUGS-Ukraine president), Mr. Clement Twumasi (NUGSA-Wales President), Mr. Louis Osei-Poku (AGS-HK President), current and past NEC members, Senate leaders, Chapter executives and other dignitaries from sister organizations present across the globe.
Mr. Abu Osuman, the Minister Counsellor, at the Ghana Embassy in China represented the ambassador to China, H.E. Edward Boateng. He thanked the resource person for stepping-in for the initial guest speaker. He informed members presents about the readiness of the Embassy to support students in the diaspora. He assured members to anticipate a fruitful program.
After the opening address, Miss Nana Adwoa Anokye Effah officially introduced the resource person.
Dr. Robert Apkalu begun his speech by giving details of his institution, Valley View University (VVU). According to him, VVU is the first private university in Ghana and a Christian university as well. He went ahead to inform the audience about the requirements needed for faculty appointments in the university. He indicated, there are several entry points and ranks in the university faculty structure. These include (in order of rank); Assistant lecturer, Lecturer, Senior lecturer, Associate professor and Professor. The minimum degree required to get appointment as faculty lecturer is an MPhil or PhD. Whilst MPhil holders may be ranked as a lecturer or assistant lecturer, PhD holders are ranked as lecturers or higher ranks based on their experience. Members were made aware that for one to be engaged in the university as a lecturer, at least two (2) of his or her degrees must be in the same area of study. He went further to advice participants against having “skirt and blouse” degrees.
Dr. Robert Akpalu proceeded to outline the selection process after one applies to the university. It begins with an interview at the departmental level with the Head of Department (HoD), then to the faculty/school/colleague level, and finally at the university level before an appointment letter is issued to a successful applicant. He added that for a continuous engagement with the university, one is assessed in three (3) key areas: teaching, publication and community service. In elaboration, he said in as much the ability to teach in the university is very important, publications are also crucial as well as rendering some services in and around communities within the university.
The floor was then opened for questions after the presentation. Participants took advantage of the opportunity and asked questions on issues ranging from academic requirements, teaching experience, salaries and compensation, and finally on retirement.
On the issue of compensations, Dr. Robert Akpalu opined that the quantum of salary depends on the university and other fringe benefits. Fringe benefits may include rent, book and research, and car maintenance allowances. The salary level ranges from GHC 4,000 to GHC 6,000. On teaching workload, the maximum for public universities in Ghana is nine (9) credit hours per semester. In VVU however, the Dean has a maximum load of Six (6) credits, Head of Department nine(9) credits, and other faculty members without additional responsibility has twelve (12) credits in a semester. Any additional workload is compensated.
On the issue of retirement, He emphasized that the retirement age for lecturers is sixty (60) years (for public universities) and sixty-five (65) years for VVU. Professors and senior lecturers for VVU are however allowed to stay till seventy (70) years. After 70 years, professors whose services are needed will be engaged by the university on part-time contracts.
Dr. Akpalu concluded by admonishing participants to pay attention to their publications before and during their appointment with the university as faculty members.
Miss Irene N. A. Korkor (National WOCOM), gave the vote of thanks and the program ended at 10:00pm with a prayer by Miss Akua Marie (NUGS-Jinhua Vice President).