From the Institute of Extra Mural Studies in 1948 to the School of Continuing and Distance Education (SCDE) In 2023, The Untold Stories…….

As part of the activities marking the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the University of Ghana, the School of Continuing and Distance Education (SCDE) held a faculty and staff durbar on Friday, 21st July, 2023, on the theme “75 years of University-based Adult and Continuing Education in Ghana, Sharing our Story.”

The purpose of the durbar was to tell the SCDE story, in terms of its establishment, challenges and successes. Past Directors, Deans and staff were invited to share untold stories and events that had unfolded during their tenure. Some of the past Directors and Deans who attended the function were Profs. Miranda Greenstreet, Kate Adoo-Adeku, Yaw Oheneba-Sakyi and Michael A. Tagoe.  These four past Directors and Deans formed a panel for discussion.

Giving the opening remarks, the Dean of the School Prof. Olivia A. T. F. Kwapong, thanked the past deans and directors, pensioners, faculty, and staff for gracing the occasion. According to her, it was necessary to tell the untold stories of the school to help us learn our history. She indicated that these stories shared will be documented in the School’s archives for future generations and will direct and guide the school to achieve its vision. She encouraged participants to listen with rapt attention and emulate the good virtues of their predecessors.

The Dean of the School of Continuing and Distance Education (SCDE), Prof. Olivia A. T. F. Kwapong giving her remarks.

The panel members took turns to recount their experiences during their tenure as Directors/Deans in the School. Prof Miranda Greenstreet, the longest-serving Director of the then Institute of Adult Education, said the Institute was known as the Institute of Extra Moral Studies in 1948. In 1960, the name was changed to the Institute of Public Education, this later changed again to the Institute of Adult Education, then to the Institute of Continuing and Distance Education and finally to the School of Continuing and Distance Education when the University went collegiate. In recounting the reason for starting the distance education programme, she said it was because of workers’ enthusiasm for education and improving upon their qualifications, hence the establishment of the Workers College throughout the country.

From Left; Profs Michael Tagoe, Yaw Oheneba-Sakyi, Kate Adoo-Adeku, Miranda Greenstreet, & Mrs. Regina Afari Boateng, School Administrator, SCDE

Prof. Greenstreet reiterated the importance of telling stories about the School's humble beginning so that people will know and appreciate how and why certain programmes were started. She mentioned that even though the food scarcity the country experienced in 1982/83 affected the Institute negatively as most staff fled to seek greener pastures outside, past directors leveraged on their affiliation with several external organizations to solicit funding to support the Institute.

According to the other Directors and Deans who formed the panel, a lot of dedication went into making the Distance Education a top priority through the introduction of several programmes. Through their collective efforts, programmes such as AIB, Accountancy, and non-formal education programmes were introduced. The Mature Students Entrance Exams at Accra Workers College was also started. The prevalence of HIV/AIDS necessitated the team to design and start the HIV/AIDS Distance Education Programme.

Some section of Staff at the durbar

From Left: The Dean of SCDE, College Secretary and Provost of CoE

Prof. Yaw Oheneba-Sakyi’s experience in ICT from the California State University for twenty-four (24) years was brought to bear when he joined the School. Worthy of note, is his use of technology as a bargaining chip to introduce the SAKAI Learning Management System to teaching and learning. He also led a team to redesign and introduce new programmes, as well as the rebranding and redesigning of a five-year plan on technology for the Annual New Year School.

Prof. Tagoe, whose predecessors had commended him for his hard work since he joined the school after his national service at the Accra Workers College, took the opportunity as well as other panel members to advise present employees of the School to be self-motivated, give their best to serve humanity and make Ghana a great nation.

Prof. Samuel Nii Ardey Codjoe, Provost of the College of Education, was optimistic that with everyone’s support, the School will become unique and competitive. He charged all to explore innovative ways to raise funds for the School and encouraged faculty to work harder and do more research. He also applauded the organizers and tasked them to continuously visit the past retirees and keep them abreast of current happenings in the School.

The College Secretary, Mr. Joseph Oduro Nkansah commended the team for such an insightful event. He reiterated the need to establish a monument to share these stories and events for future generations.

Prof. Samuel Nii Ardey Codjoe, the Provost of the College of Education 

Staff took turns to ask questions and make contributions. The programme which was successfully organized had sponsorship from some past and present PhD students. In her closing remarks, the Dean thanked all for their participation and the diverse support received. She also assured the Provost and her predecessors that the suggestions they had given would be used to make the School better.

Some past and current directors of SCDE at the durbar