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The School of Education under the Ghana Military Academy and Training Schools (MATS) of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) last Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of Education, Winneba (UEW).
The MOU, which is primarily aimed at providing a platform for personnel to academically upgrade themselves, will also give similar opportunities for civilians within their catchment area.
This engagement is expected to improve the efficiency, competence and professional capacities of personnel especially after their retirement.
Speaking to the media, the Director- General in Charge of Training at the General Headquarters, Burma Camp, Brigadier General Twum Ampofo-Gyekye, who signed the MoU on behalf of the GAF, said the two institutions had been engaging in discussions for some time and believed it was time to formalise the agreement.
“We seek to attain knowledge and for our personnel to upgrade themselves. The discussions have been ongoing for some time now so today we came to formalise the partnership between the GAF and the UEW. We know the calibre of school the UEW is locally and internationally, so we seek to take advantage of their potential to better ourselves,” Brigadier General Ampofo-Gyekye said.
Expressing excitement about the partnership agreement, the Officer Commanding of the School of Education (MATS), Major Hilda Asiedu, said the GAF considered several factors before choosing the UEW for the partnership.
She explained that MATS as a training command and the School of Education under the GAF Education Unit looked at the broad spectrum of courses being run by the university and also considered the number of teachers within the unit, after which it decided that UEW would be the best choice since it is recognised as a leader in the field of higher education for teachers.
“We looked at the courses that are being run and we also looked at ourselves as an educational unit and the fact that we have a lot of teachers within our unit. This university is where teachers come to have themselves upgraded and so we felt that with the other courses this university offers, it will be the perfect university for us to affiliate ourselves with.
“It is not that other universities were not considered but we felt that for our needs, Winneba would serve the purpose best,” she said.
Major Hilda Asiedu said the military had reached an agreement with the university for some selected personnel who enrolled in various programmes to have a part of their fees waived off.
She indicated that the unit had a process through which it would select students who would merit the waiver and added that others who would enrol might be required to fulfil payment of their fees.
According to Major Hilda Asiedu, the agreement allowed all military personnel to enrol in any programme at the university.
“This partnership is open to all personnel of the GAF and open to civilians living within our catchment area. We are not only looking at offering education to the personnel or staff of the Ghana Armed Forces but we are also looking at the community in which we are hosted and to offer education to all who are interested,” she explained.
For his part, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Education, Rev. Fr Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni, revealed that the university had decided not to affiliate itself with any other institution to enable it to focus on its numerous distance education centres as it had merely 40 institutions that it is affiliated with worldwide.
He disclosed that the university had to revisit the decision because of the compelling reasons cited by the GAF for the partnership.
The Vice-Chancellor described the decision by the GAF to partner the UEW as heart-warming, considering that there are several reputable institutions that the army could have decided to partner.
“It is very heart-warming that an institution such as the Ghana Armed Forces which is highly respected all over the world has seen values in our university which is similar to theirs. Definitely, the Ghana Armed Forces is poised with the mandate to serve humanity and they have very well done it over the years in the many activities of protecting lives and properties all over the world in peace-keeping areas among other avenues,” he said.
The Vice-Chancellor expressed his gratitude to the Chief of the Defence Staff and all high-ranking officers of the GAF for the partnership and gave an assurance that the university would do its best to fulfil its part of the agreement.
“On behalf of the University, I want to convey our gratitude and respect to the Chief of the Defence Staff for the kind words spoken and the gestures of seriousness towards the partnership. I can only assure you that we will continue to be the good partner,” he said.
Other officers present at the signing ceremony were Lt Col Michelle Yaw Borbi, Deputy Director, Training, General Headquarters, Burma Camp; Lt Abel Nartey, Lt Israel Nyako, Mr. Laud Hammond, Mr. Emmanuel Boye and Mr. Godsway Kporgbe, all Instructors at the School of Education MATS, Teshie in Accra