The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) is re-designing its programs to incorporate a new teaching and learning approach known as problem- based.
Problem-based Learning or PBL focuses actively on generating, adapting and using knowledge to solve problems rather than passively acquiring and storing it.
Dean of International Programs Office, Professor William Oduro, says it has become imperative to redefine and re-adjust the curricula to make them relevant to the African.
According to him, developed countries have moved ahead because of this problem-based learning.
“Because by this you allow students to identify problems around themselves giving them the theory or knowledge and then they use the theory to create things,” he said.
As they do this, the concept assures they are able to create knowledge, own it and able to utilize it to solve a problem.
Professor Oduro says “we cannot continue like this. The theory behind this, our students are supposed to know. So we feel strongly that this is the approach”.
Acquisition and storage of knowledge, according to educators, has resulted in brain-drain and donor-funded importation of educational programs and expertise.
Research reveals African universities, especially, in Ghana face a twin challenge of dwindling funds and lack of resources in the face of increasing enrolment.
The professor observes the Intake of KNUST for instance is about 12,000, with a current population about 42,000.
The implication is that classrooms are going to be chocked.
Professor Oduro believes the new approach will also reduce congestion in classrooms.
“Lecturers can stay in their offices and lecture with the technology of ICT and the students will work and mark together with the lecturer, with this you free the classrooms,” he explained.
Traditional approach of standing in front of the class and teach or lecture is by this expected to be over soon.
“We have started so we are redesigning our courses which used to be the lecturer with the embodiment of knowledge and he comes to pour his knowledge onto the student,” he said.
Professor Oduro is worried the situation has not given any space for students to think and create.
“They come out and they say there are no jobs but we see a lot of jobs in the system, this is the problem of not only Ghana but Africa.”
Authorities at KNUST say the model will begin in the Colleges of Science, Arts and Built environment as well as Agriculture and Natural Resources Colleges.
Pro-Vice Chancellor, Professor Samuel Nii Odai says the university has increased its internet bandwidth to be able to facilitate the e-learning approach.
The University of Copenhagen in Denmark is assisting with the migration, with 800,000 Danish Krone funding from the Danish International Development Agency, DANIDA.
This was revealed at the 1st national conference of Problem Based Learning and E-learning at the university’s premises.
Officials are optimistic the new approach when enrolled in all parts of the school will gradually promote and foster national development.