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Opinions of Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Columnist: Jonathan Abubakar, PHD Oxfordshire, UK

Gyampo, you are a joke and risk to education in Ghana

Dear sir,

I have listened to you over and over again and each time I hear you speaking about Senyo Hosi’s ‘sermon’ about the University of Ghana, I worry more for the university. In fact, I am petrified. You represent everything wrong with the University today. You are a monologue and you are totally out of touch or unperturbed to appreciate your environment and the future.

You think the University's ranking (one thousand whatever) is the evidence of its effectiveness. You are young but your mental orientation is expired. Of what use is a ranking when you are being knocked out in the first round of the world cup? I believe a JSS grad can answer that. Ashesi is winning on the ground and on the job and you are just interested in rankings. God save UG.

To make matters worse you seek to pride yourself about a 16th position ranking in Africa and over the University of Ibadan. Here again you are evidencing the mediocrity that we worry about. The world is a global village and disruptive technologies like Artificial Intelligence are going to make it smaller. When you should be thinking of how to equip your students to compete with Harvard and Oxford graduates, you are priding yourself about being ahead of a challenged Nigeria.

You produce graduates and care less about how they are faring on the job market. Your kind of thinking stifles creativity, innovation and growth in our young lads. You are a major risk to the University and the future of the country. It is no wonder you were denied the headship of your department.

Simply crossover to the business school and read what it means to be a customer-focused entity and what it takes to build a sustainable business or organisation. You sound like the MD of a manufacturing company whose interest is in sparkling machines and not churning out products required by the market. You will soon have your warehouse filled and possibly eat your own products. You are out of sync and since you claim to read, I recommend the following books for you:

• Service Innovation: How to go from Customer Needs to Breakthrough Services by Lance Bettencourt

• Profiting From Services and Solutions: What Product-Centric Firms Need to Know (Service Systems and Innovations in Business and Society) Valarie A. Zeithaml, Stephen W. Brown, et al.

And one that will be released soon:

•Industry-University-Government Partnerships (IUGP): Drivers, Models and Examples in US, Singapore, Norway and Qatar (Management and Industrial Engineering) 1st ed. 2020 Edition.

You bastardised Senyo Hosi for not being present at the launch of the UG@70 homecoming launch, which had all the photo ops, but took pride that you, the senior intellectual, were absent at the intellectual deliberations on how to bring life to the theme of the celebration. You are a faculty member and should have known that it is primarily your responsibility to have been present, not just to speak but for the first time, listen.

My checks have revealed that you are currently an Associate Professor at the University of Ghana and head a Centre called the Centre for European Studies there. Now here is the first problem with you and by extension the University of Ghana. I have taken the liberty to check your scholarship profile and you have absolutely no scholarship in European Studies. Does this mean that the University of Ghana has appointed a Director with no scholarship in the area that he has been appointed in? The questions to you and the University of Ghana are three-fold

• How do you possibly promote research and teaching in an area you have no scholarship in?

• How are you still in the job when all you have done to date (according to my University of Ghana website checks) is organize workshop after workshop after workshop? It baffles me. Practically no scholarship is coming from your Centre and I understand the Centre is also run from your office?

• How are you also still in that Director role when you have attracted next to no grants to the Centre as well? Could you please consider going to WACCBIP to learn how a Centre is properly run? It is this mediocre performance at your Centre that worries me; and by extension makes me wonder what profound knowledge you are imparting in European studies at the University of Ghana.

As a whole director of a centre, the panel session should have been more of a priority to you than standing at the carpark where you report yourself to have been chitchatting. You should have been eager and hungry for knowledge on how alumni and industry feel about your work. You should have been eager to connect with industry to explore ways to raise the funding your centre needs. But being the monologue you are, you know and have it all. Maybe you only connect and listen to Europeans. I beg stay on your high horse.

I do not dislike you, but I dislike your orientation. It is a waste of a critical human resource the country needs. Sadly, you have emphasised the reason why the University should have less regard for Associate Professors whose claim to publication is from predatory journals like the International Journal of Development and Sustainability Research which states boldly that they have a Pay Publication Fee.

I hope this kind of thinking is restricted to you and not the general faculty fraternity, else Senyo Hosi’s Nokia 3310 will be an underestimation. I fear for Ghana.

Ghana needs you but needs you thinking and guiding right. You have all your degrees from the University of Ghana; you must do it proud. Turn over a new leaf.

I am done with you and cannot have a discourse with your mentality. You typify the mediocrity all Ghanaians should rail against. Please feel free to respond to this a million times. Be rest assured that as the monologue you are, you will get no further feedback from me so respond to yourself.

Adapt or go extinct, Gyampo!

Change your mindset and help change UG.

Otherwise, get out of the way of those who seek to make change.

We don’t have time.

Jonathan Abubakar, PHD

Oxfordshire, UK