IBM Application Security Analyst training for BlueCrest College Ghana students and staff during December session break

Date : 31.01.2017, Accra, Ghana
BlueCrest College Ghana in association with IBM MEA Academy is organising an online certification training programme on IBM Application Security Analyst for their students from Monday, 16th January to Friday, 10th February, 2017 with a final examination scheduled on Thursday, 16th February, 2017. IBM training program provides unique academic roadmaps for students, preparing them to succeed in demanding positions unique to the market. The program provides a world class training experience, leveraging IBM official courses with IBM certified instructors.

To cater the needs of students & faculty members to enhance their skills and knowledge on recent technologies & innovations BlueCrest College Ghana is having an MOU with IBM MEA Academy and NCTE to train their faculty members and students on IBM technologies, as part of this few faculty members were already trained and gained certification on IBM Application Security Analyst & Big Data Specialist with IBM Big Insights V2.1.

BlueCrest College Ghana Holds 9th Graduation Ceremony on 29th October 2016

Prof. James Hawkins Ephraim, Ex. Vice Chancellor of CUC and Ex. Rector of UCOMS presided over the congregation as Chairman for the 9th Graduation ceremony.

Other invited guests were Dr. Samuel Asiedu, Dean Faculty of Science Education UEW representing the Vice Chancellor of UEW and the Chief Guest, Prof. James Flolu who gave a wonderful speech on the theme ‘Will Africa Education Win the Global Market?’

Mr. Vivek Verma, Rector BlueCrest College Ghana and Mr. Sujith Jayaprakash, Registrar, represented the College Council during the congregation.

Prof. Flolu, speaking on the theme said higher education yields better employment opportunities and job prospects, as well as improved quality of life and greater economic growth. He went further to give some statistics saying only 6% of young people in the sub-Saharan Africa are enrolled in higher education institutions outside of their home countries as compared to the global average of 26%. He added that a commitment to improving this higher education will give the next generation of leaders an opportunity to create a better future for themselves, their community and country as a whole.

The rise in private schools should not be seen as negative, but instead as a viable alternative to a sub-standard public education system. A data by UNESCO shows that more of these students from sub-Saharan Africa prefer to study abroad than other students from elsewhere. Also, it says that higher education hubs are becoming preferred destinations for students on the African continent partially due to similarities in culture and lower travel costs.

He further explained how important it is to extend our curriculums to more practical studies which will help students start up their own modern businesses since our structured educational system do not serve the global needs or purpose. Asking if the educational system now serves both developmental needs and global competition since what leads to economic growth is investing in human capital and the educational system.

Experts argue that the quality of education in Africa should not be just simple literacy and numeracy but rather foster knowledge, creativity, entrepreneurship, innovation, solutions and a growth oriented mindset. Investment in education and training is essential in building a skilled workforce which will increase the chances of graduates getting jobs in Africa reducing the number of unemployed people which will give the continent a competitive edge in the global market.

A high concentration of talented teachers, researchers and students, also sizable budgets and a combination of freedom, autonomy and leadership are the 3 key factors that is needed to prepare students for the global market and from the part of students, they also need to have passion for the chosen subject, positive attitude towards work and the ability to think and work independently since employees require leadership, teamwork, good communication, problem solving skills, creativity, entrepreneurial mindset among others.

Students should not just create a culture where they simply want to gun for credentials for better salaries but rather be innovative and find imaginative solutions. One of the graduants, Mr. Joshua Opoku in his valedictory speech mentioned Africa being the most youthful continent and its young people being the future leaders to sustainable growth across the continent so with persistence, growth and a positive attitude they can make a difference.

The ceremony came to an end graduating a total of 128 students from the Information Technology Department of which 7% of the total number walked away with first class, 40% with second class upper, 44% with second class lower and 9% with third class.

 

BlueCrest College Ghana Holds 13th Matriculation Ceremony on 10th October 2016

A total of 328 students took the matriculation oath for 2016/2017 Academic Session during the 13th Matriculation Ceremony of BlueCrest College Ghana held at BlueCrest Accra Campus on October 10, 2016.

The event was presided over by the College Registrar Mr. Sujith Jayaprakash and assisted by Associate Dean (Academic Affairs) Dr. Balamurugan E., Mr. Percival Dzokoto, Head of the Department (Mass Communication & Journalism), Mr. William Bandoma, Librarian, Asst. Registrars and Program Coordinators.  Prior to the ceremony the matriculates were taken through a one week orientation program where they were introduced to the policies of the college regarding Academics and Assessment among other policies of the institution.

Matriculating students were warmly welcomed by the Asst. Registrar (Admissions) Ms. Edna Asante, who gave a short address on the role of Registry and General Administration. She gave them clear information on how to approach the Registry for assistance, and the procedures to follow in order to receive assistance from the Registry.

On behalf of the Chairman, Dr. Kapil Gupta and the Rector, Mr. Vivek Verma, The Registrar Mr. Sujith Jayaprakash congratulated the students for scaling through the rigorous selection process for admission into the College. He also stated that since the establishment of BlueCrest College as tertiary institution in 2010, the College has tried to achieve its mandate through a number of innovative and transformational programmes and activities. These have brought about consistent and significant improvements in all that we pursue including graduate professional output, scholarship and the creation of a learner- friendly environment.

He also mentioned that BlueCrest College has been awarded the number one ICT institution in Ghana in addition to a plethora of awards in the past.  The matriculation oath was commissioned by the Registrar. He welcomed the students and advice matriculates to take their studies serious and also warned them against social vices and deviant behaviors.

Dr. Balamurugan, Associate Dean (Academic Affairs) delivered a speech on Academia. He introduced the matriculates to the policies of the Academic Affairs and advised them against examination malpractices and truancy. He also urged them to be focused on their studies, as that should be the core motive of students joining BlueCrest College Ghana. Various clubs and societies available for students on campus were also introduced to the newly admitted students during matriculation ceremony.

Event climaxed with group photographs, music and refreshments arranged by the College.

Dedicated Training and Development Officer at BlueCrest College to assist students in placements and internships

BlueCrest College recently started its dedicated “Training and Development” office to assist students in getting placement and internship opportunities at various organization in Accra. Since its inception the department has been striving hard to liaise with various corporate organizations to place BlueCrest students. During an interview by the BlueCrest Media department, Mr. Richard Nartey, newly appointed Training & Development Officer, shared tit-bits about the performance of the department and the plans ahead:

  1. BlueCrest kick started 2017 with a meeting at RadioLM followed by Multimedia Group Ltd, Agility, Wakanow, Old Mutual, Esoko, Jislah Financial services, SEM Capital Management, Merton Intl School, etc.,
  2. Apart from targeting the private sectors, Department has also been introduced to public sector organizations like Nursing and Midwifery Council, Controller and Accountant General Department, Ministry of Women & Children Affairs, Birth and Death Registry, etc.,
  3. Maxwell Andah, a BSc. IT Level 200 student, has been appointed as Graphic Designer at Property Data Bank through this initiative.
  4. From February 2017, department will also place multiple students in various departments of RadioLM, Merton International and Agility.
  5. Giving out a new experience to the students, department organized a maiden campus interview through Wakanow, a leading travel and ticketing portal, where three (3) ICT students were interviewed and awaiting feedback from the company.
  6. As the students are still in their vacation period, series of activities have been planned for enhancing the career skills of students.
  7. The Training & Development Office is quite excited especially our T&D Officer Mr. Richard is quite motivated and confident with the positive response by the corporate. Thanks to all HR Managers who helped achieve this milestone in such a short period of time.

All the other academic departments should keep a watch on the upcoming seminars planned for February and March this year.

 

Welcoming Class of 2020 with a style @ BlueCrest College Ghana

Campus life of fresh students at BlueCrest College Ghana started with a week long orientation followed by red carpet and an exciting party. It was really fun to welcome Class of 2020 with a style. Welcome Freshers. Welcome Class of 2020.

Google to train a million young Africans in digital skills, BlueCrest Ghana students became their training beneficiaries

By 2020 there’ll be half a billion internet users in Africa, presenting an opportunity for African businesses and digital entrepreneurs. Youth unemployment across Africa is high – developing digital entrepreneurship and creating new job opportunities for young people is critical to Africa’s transformative growth. But digital skills are still under-developed, making it harder for African economies to get the most out of the web.

To help close this knowledge gap, Google is today pledging to train 1 million young people in Africa in digital skills in the next year, as part of our contribution to growing Africa’s digital economy. This information was made public by Google on their official blog for Africa.

To be a part of this digital skill enhancement, on 5th September 2016 eighty (80) BlueCrest College Ghana students were trained by Mr. Simon W. Alangde from Wineloya, a training partner of Google in Ghana for Digital Skills project.  As part of the train the trainer programme, Wineloya first trained eight (8) selected trainers, including the Rector, Registrar and Associate Dean (Academics), from BlueCrest College on Digital Skills. These trainers will subsequently train other students on Google Digital Skills at BlueCrest College Ghana.

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Mr. Simon from Wineloya along with Mr. Vivek Verma, Rector, Mr. Sujith Jayaprakash, Registrar and Dr. Balamurugan E., Associate Dean (Academic Affairs) BlueCrest College after the Digital Skills Training

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Wineloya, a digital advertising company based in Ghana, with a focus on providing excellent training in digital, has been selected as one of the training partners for the recently announced Digital Education training program by Google.

Digify Africa Image source: http://digifyafrica.com

The role of libraries towards national development: Lessons from other countries

Libraries make important contributions to national development. The significance of this article is to assess the roles libraries play in national development and support the advocacy for the inclusion of libraries and access to information in national development plans that will contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (“UN 2030 Agenda”) and the Africa we want (“AU 2063 Agenda”).

Libraries have shown that they can drive meaningful progress across agenda. The SDGs are universal; each country is responsible for the development and implementation of national strategies to achieve the SDGs, as well as monitor and evaluate the progress of achievement of these SDGs.

The inclusion of library communities in the development of national strategies will offer them the opportunity to contribute towards the advancement of development priorities. Advocacy is an essential tool used by libraries to justify their role as engines of local development, and ensure that they are resourced adequately to contribute towards national development by standing as a pillar in educating and repackaging information for better consumption and understanding by a targeted populace.

Declaration

In August, 2015, The Cape Town declaration was inspired by the principles enshrined in the charter for African Cultural Renaissance, the global sustainable development agenda and the level of commitment to prioritise and resource libraries as part of Africa agenda 2063. Hence, the deliberation on the status of libraries in the continent and the progress required to meet the global sustainable development goal.

Among the objectives (only four are listed here) to improve African libraries with the aim of contributing to national development. They are; providing the necessary resources for the development of African Libraries to respond to modern day challenges and provide access to merging technologies; fast tracking the implementation of continental innovation strategies to improve ICT and knowledge management; encouraging the sharing of skills, collection and preservation of African stories from our own communities and encouraging the development and promotion of local content libraries in Africa as part of the promotion of the African Renaissance and Pan Africanism.

GLA

The Ghana Library Association (GLA) was founded in 1962 and is registered under the professional body decree NRCD 143 of the 1973 with a registration number PB 21. The GLA has the mandate to unite all librarians and institutions in Ghana interested in library and librarianship

It is also to be instrumental in promoting the establishment and development of library and information services, bibliographical work and library co-operation, while also promoting and safeguarding the professional interest of librarians

In effect the GLA is the overall head of all libraries in Ghana, be it public, academic or special libraries. One would ask, is the GLA still functional? If yes, how effective, organised or united is it? As stated in the constitution of the association “to unite all librarians and institutions in library and “librarianship”.

Can Ghana realise agendas 2030 and 2063?

The success or failure of Ghana in the achievement of the targets set by both agenda is dependent on two main factors. These are a recognition of libraries and librarians as an engine of access to information (timely, well packaged, targeted and readily available and less expensive).

The second factor is that the advocacy and strategies adopted by the GLA should be in partnership with government and all stakeholders.

Libraries are proven to be cost-effective partners for advancing development priorities. Many countries have designated libraries to be repositories for vital information and knowledge. This makes libraries an important venue for information about personal development, hence; national development. Libraries are already supporting progress towards access to information and national building.

Promoting literacy

In goal two of the UN agenda and aspiration one of the AU agenda 2063, the objective is to eradicate poverty at all levels, in all walks of life. Other countries have relied on libraries to pass on valuable information to the prospective targets, example, in the attempt to increase the production and income for small-scale food producers or farmers.

In Romania, public library staff  trained under the Biblionet programme worked with other partners including the Association of Libraries of Romani (ANBPR), the Ministry of Culture, local and national government and public libraries across the country, Biblionet helped libraries to breathe new life into Romanian communities by helping 100,000 farmers to use ICT.

Could the Ghana Library Association and Ministry of Agriculture and other stakeholders learn something?  Is there no such thing in Ghana? Are both the Ministry of Agriculture and the GLA slumbering or is it a case of lack of creativity/innovation? If  efforts are already made by the GLA to play a key role in information dissemination, then it must be carried out as a matter of urgency. The cocoa and other cash crop production can gain an immense growth and advancement when such innovative ways are employed.

Promoting lifelong learning opportunities without limitations towards religion, gender and age. The UN agenda goal four and goal five and the AU agenda aspiration six, targets the development of people by ensuring quality, equitable education among all ages.

These targets seek to achieve the enhancement of the potentials in women and the youth not leaving out anyone. This is an education that would be sustainable and a lifelong journey. People will know where, how, when to find information, preserve and disseminate it without distortion.

Public libraries in Botswana have taken large strides towards supporting government objectives under its National Vision 2016, which includes introducing ICT access, improving the computer skills of library users, and enabling users to be successful in business, education and employment.  With this vision people trained in ICT can develop in so many ways in their diverse professions with access to readily available information.

Partnerships for literacy

When the government equips the GLA properly, providing enough budgetary support and infrastructure, libraries across the nation will stand as a meaningful tool to effect a long lasting change. All over the world, there has been practical success stories about library playing a key role in poverty alleviation,  education, better well-packaged information for farmers, improving the quality of lives and encouraging lifelong learning.

In Sri Lanka, the government and its partners initiated a programme called the Nenasala programme. This initiative is run to increase  digital literacy and access to information among the nations’ remote and poorest areas.

Nenasala (Wisdom Outlet) is a telecentre project by the Government of Sri Lanka. Developed under the e-Sri Lanka Initiative which was implemented by the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka. Communication centres are continuously built by the government in rural areas to fight poverty, develop culture and commerce, and sustain peace. There are 751 such centres in the country.

In Mongolia,  about 15,000 persons either with poor vision or blind are employed. In the year 2010, Ulaanbaatar Public Library (UPL) and the Mongolia National Association of the Blind built two recording studios to create talking books in a digital DAISY format that has increased the amount of accessible materials, and opened up new worlds of learning for the visually impaired people.

In conclusion, the significant contributions and usefulness of libraries and librarians cannot be over emphasised. In the attempt to achieve these goals and aspirations, policy makers, the government and the GLA should come together to form a formidable force with a core-defined path to follow to make our world better.

Williams Bandoma

The writer is a librarian at BlueCrest College Ghana and an information professional. His email is: bandomawills@ymail.com

Importance of Sports in Academic Development

Athletics have always been an essential component of a liberal education. Schools that offer more sports and field more successful teams produce higher test scores and graduation rates, research shows.

There is a relatively consistent body of research showing that students who participate in athletics tend to fare significantly better both in school and in later life. Participating in sports, like playing in the school band or competing on the debate team, are cognitively and organizationally demanding activities that help convey self-discipline and leadership skills. This is especially true for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

In addition, it has also been found that schools that offer more sports and field more successful teams produce higher test scores and graduation rates. So, there is no reason to believe that schools that emphasize sports do so at the expense of other educational goals.

Academic learning and sports education are the complements of each other. They resemble the two sides of the same coin. If the sports education is carried out accompany with the academic curriculum, the over-all personality of the student are increased to greater extent. They get the qualities of the leadership, sharing, team spirit and tolerance from the sports. Sports education not only teaches the students to maintain the physical stamina, but also the habit of obedience, discipline, the determination to win, will power, etc. The power of reasoning, mental development, vocational specialization comes from the academics to the students. Therefore sports education along with the academics result in the mental, moral and physical development of the students.
The evidence above suggests students benefit from schools that offer a variety of enriching activities, including sports.

At BlueCrest University College Ghana, we always support activities that promote sports among all section of students. Our College is having its own Basketball and Football team, which has participated in university level tournaments in Ghana and multiple friendly matches with other universities.

Why Not Ghana?

As we witness the start of 2016, I am sure all of us in the education sector in Ghana would have done their analysis of business performance for 2015, which was affected by Ebola, impact of low oil prices on the economy, currency devaluation across Africa and many other factors which were not in an institution’s control. One of the major factor which impacted university enrollments across Ghana was turbulence in Nigerian economy. I am sure all of us agree on the fact that majority of the international students studying in Ghanaian private colleges (university colleges) are from Nigeria, any disturbance there is having a direct impact on the enrollment graphs in Ghana.

Despite these challenges, there were institutions that performed well by introducing innovative ideas in their recruitment and retention strategies. I remember one of the well-known institutions in Accra with majority of foreign students partnering with a bank to complete student’s verification process on their campus itself. This activity not only saved students time and money to verify their bank account to enable them to withdraw money from ATM in Ghana itself, but also benefited institution in reducing their default rate.  Without this, students were required to go back to their home country to complete the verification process.

But, is there such a big potential and sustained market existing in the tertiary sector and is there a scope of potential growth. If these factors exist, are we on the right track!! I tried to find out the potential markets in Africa and globally and took a clue into what other countries are dong to develop this sector as a mainstream contributor to their respective economies.

  • AFROL News (www.afrol.com) quoted that according to statistics published by Merill Lynch, the private higher education market will reach US$ 8 trillion by 2025. 
  • As per www.mgafrica.com, University World News cited a French government’s Campus Agency that noted that there were 380,376 African students were on the move in 2010, representing about a tenth of all international students worldwide and 6% of all African students.  

Good number of countries across the globe has developed themselves as a preferred destination for higher education for international students. Most of those countries have a strategic plan to make higher education attractive for international students which will eventually contribute significantly to their economy. Looking into the high number of African students crossing their national boundaries to get globally competitive higher education, I thought to check on the preparedness of some of those preferred or preparing to be preferred destinations.

Let me start by discussing about Mauritius. As per the Education Minister of Mauritius, country seeks 100,000 foreign students by 2020. Strategic plans developed by the country stressed on the development of Mauritius as one of the most preferred destination for higher education globally. The Government of Mauritius announced in 2015 that it had earmarked funds for the construction of five campuses in rural areas of the island, which otherwise are known more as a luxury holiday destination.  Mauritius government wants to transform higher education sector as one of the pillars of their economy.

But how is the Mauritius government planning to increase their international student strength from 1500 (from 65 countries; data as of 2014) to 100,000 by 2020? They are planning to do this by facilitating visa procedures, allowing full-time students to work, providing accommodation facilities and good infrastructure, developing new attractive study programmes for international students, starting a global marketing and public relations campaign and enhancing general conditions such as security aspects.

I would like to bring out more factors here, which will definitely help Mauritius achieve its target.

  • As per Tertiary Education Commission website, as of 2012, there were 71 higher education providers, as compared to 42 in year 2000.
  • Out of 71, 60 are private institutions.
  • Out of 45,969 students, representing 45% GER (Gross Tertiary Enrollment Ratio), 50% of the students were studying in the private institutions. It is to be noted that Mauritius has set itself a target of increasing the GER from current 45% to 72% by 2020.
  • Dedicated single window information portal to know more about studying in Mauritius. Portal managed by the government agencies responsible for improving international students enrollments in the country.
  • One of the most significant strategic goals (Strategic Plan 2013-2025) of the government is “Internationalisation of Higher Education”. Some of the key points in this are:
  • Implement marketing schemes to attract International students to study in Mauritius.
  • Encourage International tertiary institutions of high reputation, including renowned institutions among the top 500 universities to set up local campuses/units or partnerships in Mauritius.
  • Establish mutual recognition of qualification agreements on both bilateral and multilateral basis.
  • Encourage public-private partnerships to develop infrastructure projects for tertiary education.
  • Establish scholarships for international students to study in Mauritius.

If we discuss about South Africa, as per the numbers quoted by University World News about African students crossing their country to get higher education, South Africa gained the most in Africa. With over 15% students entering South African universities, it gained 57,321 international students in 2010 itself, which is much higher than UK, USA, Germany and Malaysia. According to www.mgafrica.com almost 18% of African students studying abroad are currently studying in South Africa, which has seen an 8% increase in international students since 2007. As of 2014, 68,000 international students were studying in South African universities.

If we talk about more developed nations, Australia, UK, USA, Germany, Norway and host of other European countries, their embassies and dedicated agencies for international student’s recruitment has been targeting Africans to register in their respective countries. Most of these countries have dedicated agencies which act as one point information centre for universities in their respective countries.

Does Ghana with a current tertiary GER of only 15.57% (2014, as per UNESCO Institute for Statistics) have a chance to challenge South Africa and attract more international students? As per data presented by Ministry of Education in June 2015, there were 10,383 international students representing merely 3.2% of 315,000 total university students. With over 81% of the total international students studying in private institutions, Ghana is among the top three destinations for tertiary education in Africa. But apart from these high accolade from international agencies, Ghana don’t have any dedicated agency like http://www.studymauritius.infohttp://www.australianuniversities.com.au, promoted by government to attract international students and implement marketing schemes to attract International students to study in Ghana. Ghanaian universities rely on their own innovative marketing and promotion schemes to attract international students and provide guidance to those prospective students.

If Ghana also sets up an agency like Mauritius, Australia, UK and other countries, I am very much sure that our universities which are very well competitive with our counterparts in other countries will be able to attract more international students. WHY NOT GHANA plan for 100,000 international students in its universities. It requires developing a strategic plan for tertiary education which can increase the number of international students in next 10 years and make Ghana as a preferred destination for higher education in Africa. If we do so, this sector will become one of a major pillar to the country’s economy too.