Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Legon, Prof. Ebenezer Oduro-Owusu, has made a strong case for females to be given equal opportunities as males if Africa and for that matter Ghana want to develop at the right pace.
He argues, females at the university level are outperforming their male counterparts contrary to what used to pertain in the past. “Currently, we have more first class coming from ladies- yes they are doing much much better than the boys.”
To help sustain this and even get better results, he said University of Ghana is currently working to give equal chance to both sexes to shine.
According him, his outfit which used to practice a policy that allowed 30 percent intake of women against 70 percent of males, is reversing the policy and working towards giving 50 percent for each sex as far as admission into the University is concerned.
“We have a policy to make sure that we increase female intake and our aim is to get to a point where at least we can have females 50 and 50 for males. It was as low as 30/70 coming from there to quite close to 50/50. We are hoping to get there in a couple of years”.
Prof. Oduro-Owusu who spoke to The Herald after a forum dub “The Power of Partnership: Strengthening Education Town Hall”, said females are doing incredibly well.
Asked what is accounting for this, the University of Ghana boss said females are more focused and attach seriousness to whatever they set their eyes on hence the surprisingly good grades they are coming out with.
He said, “Naturally, women are very focused, women are serious on whatever they do, and so I think that is accounting for this”.
Prof. Oduro-Owusu underscored the importance of partnering institutions such as Yale University for mutual benefits. He said University of Ghana does not only partner similar universities but the private sector adding the main of the premier institution is to train critical minds that can help in the growth of the country.
Themed, “The Power of Partnership: Strengthening Education” Tuesday’s programme held at the University of Ghana’s Great Hall had in attendance, President of Yale University, Prof. Peter Salovey, who is visiting Africa for the first time since assuming office in 2013, President of Ashesi University, Dr. Patrick Awuah, Elizabeth Elango-Bintliff, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Junior Achievement Africa and Strive Masiyiwa who is the Executive Chairman and Founder, Econet.
Speaking in turns, Dr. Awuah said Africa needs to fix it problems but while at that it must realize that no single country can do it by itself. He said, Africa must prepare it core of people who are going to change it situation and make it better explaining “You don’t need a lot of money to teach people how to think”.
That, he explained, is what Ashesi University he described as an institution without borders, one of the best on the continent, is seeking to do in the educational sector. He said “Partnerships are absolutely essential to our work” adding Ashesi University has over the period collaborated with public and private sectors, academia, some from the United States, Europe etc”.
According to Mr. Awuah, the best partnership is built on open-mindedness, mutual respect and trust. The Ashesi University President said even though Africa has a lot to worry about, it must celebrate and acknowledge the successes it has chalked so far. He said often times; people are so focused on what it has not achieved or the negatives and so forget the positives that it has achieved or nurture to grow.
Cameroun’s Elizabeth Elango-Bintliff, said despite the many challenges young females in Africa face because of the socially constructed roles defined for men and women which put the latter at a disadvantage, they are distinguishing themselves academically. She said women are rubbing shoulders with men and advised that the earlier society unpacked those things that hinder the progress of women the better it will be for Africa so that it does not lose out on the great human capital.
According to Elango-Bintliff, aside school, at home, parents and the entire household, have a role to play to bring the girl child along with her male counterpart.
Prof. Salovey advised Africans to disabuse their minds that challenges facing them are peculiar to them and collaborate with others across the globe so that they can overcome them. He said issues such as climate change are global problem which needs partnership to address adding “you do not have to work in isolation”.
He encouraged young Africans to persevere as there are numerous opportunities to change the state of Africa in many aspects. Pro Salovey advised that time and institutions will continue to change to suit current trends and so young people must be prepared to take that those opportunities that will offer themselves.
The Executive Chairman and Founder, Econet, Strive Masiyiwa, charged young Africans to work hard, get involved in the struggle to develop the continent and not “stand on the sidelines” and watch others do it.
The programme which attracted students from the university and selected senior high schools was used to advice students to focus on their studies. He said it is important for Africans to hold on to their values and reminded parents ensure their children adopt the best values as the character the exhibit outside of home, will tell who their parents are.