Belinda Ayamgha, GNA
Accra, June 13, GNA - University Administrators in Ghana have been urged to embrace technology and to acquire new skills to meet the challenges that technological advancements like robotics and artificial intelligence will present.
Dr Paul Effah, President of Radford University College and former Executive Secretary of the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCCTE), gave the advice at the Annual Registrar’s Seminar, 2018, which was attended by administrators from various higher education institutions in Ghana.
It was on the theme: “70 Years of University Administration in Ghana: Redefining the Roadmap”.
He said it was important for University administrators to watch the space of robotics and artificial intelligence and to re-skill themselves accordingly, rather than sticking to routines.
Dr Effah said some universities in Europe were currently not using teaching assistants but rather robotics and artificial intelligence to respond to human requests, using human voices, while other sectors like aviation were also using technology, such as the automated immigration desks at the new airport terminal at the Kotoka International Airport, with implications for some jobs.
“You have to re-skill. It will come to the universities. If we do not re-skill, if we do not change, and we’re still going on routine things and we’re happy, in the coming years we’ll have difficulties,” he said, adding “whether we like it or not it will come. We better embrace it and ensure that we are creative and innovative in our approaches”.
Dr Effah said universities had no choice but to adapt to technological changes, especially as they were part of a global intellectual community and will feel the ripple effects of advances in other parts of the world.
“If the staff do not re-skill, and adopt new strategies, they will become redundant as routine jobs will disappear,” he said, noting that, university administrators will need goal-getting skills, including effective communication, technological skills as well as the ability to innovate and think critically and creatively.
Mrs Mercy Haizel-Ashia, Registrar, University of Ghana, who hosted the Seminar, said the University of Ghana recognised this need and was responding accordingly.
She explained that as a basic way of ensuring that the university was abreast with technological advancements, it had made it a requirement for employees to have computer skills and also a directorate known as the University of Ghana Computing Systems (UGCS), charged with providing enterprise software and other IT solutions and ensuring cyber security.
“What we need to do is to take it a step further till all our processes become IT compliant. What we expect is that we will not need as many people doing routine things; a lot of the things will be cut out,” she said.
She expressed the hope that with the basic skills in computing and Information technology, staff of the university will be able to adapt to other changes in technology, such as robotics and artificial intelligence, as it advances.
She said the UGCS also conducted periodic trainings for staff as and when new tools are added. The challenge, she said, was in ensuring that work went on alongside the trainings, requiring staff to do both manual and IT work.
“It was stressful…but with perseverance, now many people can’t even remember how the manual was,” she said, and noted that, she still encourages the keeping of manual files alongside the electronic ones as a backup.
The two-day seminar will cover topics on three main subthemes: Ideal university administration for higher education institutions, Effective systems for assessing performance of administrative senior members and People management in higher education institutions.